ARARAT retailers enjoyed a sizeable Easter trading boost, said a prominent business leader, following an influx of tourists and former residents across the four-day long weekend.
Graeme Foster of Fosters Mensland said while Easter trading is traditionally active, this year was remarkable.
"Trading was strong on Easter Saturday; it always is," he said.
"However, it was also strong across the whole week leading up to Easter. We had people coming in all week.
"The weather was fantastic, and there's no doubt it helped."
Mr Foster said the increased activity is a sign for the retail sector.
"It's clear tourists want to support the regional centres," he said.
"I believe many of the tourists were were using the travel vouchers.
"I've never seen so many people come in from the city via the train.
"We even had people travelling from Mildura to Port Fairy, who specially stopped in Ararat to buy clothing."
Women's clothing store owner Cheryl Shinner of CAS Couture said her business enjoyed a solid weekend too.
"We had shoppers from everywhere," she said.
"Heading into the colder months, jackets and knitwear was very popular; a lot of the Melbourne-based tourists hadn't seen our type of clothes in store before."
Greater Ararat Business Network president Maria Whitford said the whole city was buzzing from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
"It was fantastic to see Ararat come alive across the whole weekend," she said.
"You could see stores open the whole way down the Main street, which is a real success and proof retailers and eateries can work together for a greater good.
"I know it is hard to open on a public holiday, because penalty rates are a factor, but this is proof that opening your doors on a long weekend is always good for business."
Heading into winter, Ms Whitford said the Greater Ararat Business Network set its sights on bringing the community together to continue the momentum.
"We're creating a lot of networking opportunities for businesses to share ideas and success stories," she said.
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