New group looks to harness business enthusiasm

A small group of local business operators is taking creative new steps to lift the profile of our twin towns, with the formation of the new group PLonQ (Point Lonsdale Queenscliff) Inc.

The fledgling organisation has stressed it is not a trader’s group and wants all local business owners and residents to get on board.

Its stated mission is to “foster cultural leadership, entrepreneurial creative thinking and future thinking” to advance the communities of both townships.

“It’s been a ground-up process that’s really about bringing people together,” said PLonQ founding member, Noble Rot owner Trish Berry.

“There has been a lot of talking for years, but not much real action. This is about, from my perspective, the borough being one entity … there’s the harbour and that end and there’s Point Lonsdale at the other. We’re all just one cohesive identity and entity and it’s about bringing everything together that the borough has to offer, presented in a way that’s attractive and maximises the potential that is here.

“There hasn’t been a comprehensive pulling together like this before,” Ms Berry said.

The new group has hit the ground running, with a new website – visitqpl.com.au – already promoting local business and attractions, well-advanced plans for Christmas festivities and late-night shopping and a proposal for an interactive walking trail in the design phase.

They are among a number of ideas and concepts that have been presented to and received the enthusiastic early endorsement of Queenscliff Council officers.

PLonQ fills a void in the local business community left from the collapse of the Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale Business Association some three years ago and the apparent demise of its replacement body, The Rip Chamber.

“As residents and business owners, we’re taking the initiative not only for traders but for residents the aesthetic of the borough, to collate and gather ideas that we come up with or that other people come to us with. We can filter them and present them as solutions to state, local and federal governments and get some projects done to enhance the town,” said member and Queenscliff Gallery and Workshop owner Theo Mantalvanos.

“I think the other business group failed because it was business promoting business to business in the borough. I don’t need the butcher to know where I am, the butcher knows where I am. This is about enhancing the area, not only for locals and visitors but also spreading the word about Queenscliffe further afield.”

One of the initiatives being driven by the group is an interactive walking trail. Brass plates, cut out in the shape of a letter ‘Q’, will be placed at key destinations across the towns.

Each one will be embedded with a code that, once scanned from a smartphone, provides stories and pictures.

Other projects underway include the bulk purchase of ‘Pencil Pine’ trees to help “green” main streets and extended Christmas trading nights.

“This is not just about art, it’s not just about music, it’s about anything that’s happening in the borough. It’s food, it’s art, it’s where to stay, it’s about the whole area and no one is omitted,” Mr Mantalvanos said.

To find out more or subscribe to the PLonQ mailing list, email: PLonQ mailing list at plonq.org.au

Image: Members of the new PLonQ group from left: Donnie Grigau, Warren Hobbs, Soula and Theo Mantalvanos, Trish Berry and Andrew Grigau.

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