STORE owners want Wagga's business advocates to go back to the drawing board after a pre-Christmas Friday night shopping trial failed to deliver a boost.
Wagga councillors unanimously gave the nod to trial Friday night trading for Fitzmaurice and Baylis streets in the three weeks leading up to Christmas in November.
Although it was a great idea, Ruby Tuesday owner Kell Stoll said Fitzmaurice Street was empty despite businesses making the decision to stay open later.
Ms Stoll said late-night trading should be kept to Thursdays, but make it community-oriented with market stalls, entertainers and food trucks at the front of stores.
"We need to create a reason for people to come other than just for shopping," she said. "It is trial and error and we have to keep building on what is existing and make it better every year."
Wagga council's regional activation director Michael Keys said the trial generated plenty of interest and is something the council hopes to improve in the future.
"The first Friday evening was slow, but the subsequent two Fridays saw increased attendance in the CBD and interest was high," he said.
"This was a trend that continued through the post-Christmas and New Year period."
Wagga Business Chamber's business manager Serena Hardwick said there were some issues during the trial, which will need to be reviewed if Friday night shopping was reoccurring.
"I think we'll be going back to them and ask what they think the options are moving forward," she said.
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As part of the council's Friday night trading trial, Fitzmaurice and Baylis street stores were given more freedom to use footpaths for dining and goods displays in an effort to create a festive atmosphere. But, Mrs Hardwick said it was not taken up by many businesses.
She was also unsure if the additional crowds were as a result of a successful trial or just the Christmas party season.
Mrs Hardwick said the goal moving forward will be to create engaging experiences for customers that gives them a reason to visit the main street.
"The second week of the trial was the most successful. There must have been about 80 children out on the street waving to Santa and that is when you know it is worth it," she said.
"We need to keep looking at what opportunities there are and focus on the whole diversification of that area."
Mr Keys said the council's intention was to continue working with business groups and assess various initiatives to support them after a tough and trying year.