Despite 25 premises lying empty in Baylis Street and Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga's business future is not all doom and gloom.
The feeling within the local business community is quite the opposite.
Raine & Horne Commercial Sales and Leasing director Craig Tait said the vacancy rate for commercial properties had "dropped significantly in the past 12 months.
"We've been pretty good because most of the rentals we've had have only been empty for a month or two," he said.
"It's pretty strong at the moment and there's plenty of demand.
"Some of the owners are offering incentives on long term leases such as rent free periods or lower rent, so it's looking very positive."
Mr Tait believes local vacancy rates could be further decreased if businesses from Sydney and Melbourne look to rural regions which are less affected by COVID as a more appealing avenue.
Wagga Business Chamber business manager Serena Hardwick also believes local business has a bright future.
"The vacancy rates are minimal so it's a good sign for the business community that there's still confidence in the market here," she said.
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Cartridge World owner Greg Breust, who has also been a landlord and real estate agent, said other businesses could reap the benefits from a full complement of shops.
However, he believes that high rental prices could dissuade potential business owners from taking up a lease in the main street.
"Less empty properties mean more businesses bringing foot traffic to the retail strip which would potentially support other businesses around them," he said.
"Wagga's rents are high compared to other similar cities and some metropolitan areas.
"The owners want to maximise the rent to maximise the value of their property, but it needs to be fair on both sides of the fence - rents seem to keep going up no matter what.
"The tenants' other business expenses also increase and their profit/turnover reduces.
"A lot of businesses can't always put their prices up to cover all these increased expenses, so it eventually reaches a point where it is not viable for the tenant to stay, so they move to somewhere with more reasonable/affordable rent."
Mr Breust, whose business has been located in Baylis Street for 14 years, said that landlords and tenants must both have realistic expectations.
"Once the tenant has vacated, the owner then has a vacant building, no rent and in a lot of cases they have to reduce the rent to find a new tenant," Mr Breust said.
"In some cases they keep asking the same unrealistic rent and take even longer to lease their property or don't lease it at all.
"I've seen some properties over the years sit vacant for one, two and even three years because the owner is asking too much rent."
Rental price was a key factor for one of Wagga's newest business owners, Yongken Park, who opened Wagga's first Korean food outlet in the northern end of Baylis Street.
Following his three-year search for suitable premises, Mr Park had some difficult decisions to make before starting up.
He said he would have preferred to be located closer to the retail centre's hub.
"It's a higher rental price nearer the Marketplace so this was the compromise I made," he said.
"We had negotiations with the landlord and they were really flexible and gave us a two months rent free period.
"With COVID, I think it would be a good idea to have a longer rent free period to attract new businesses.
"It's all about the impression it leaves on people when they see empty shops."
Baylis Street has 17 commercial properties available for lease while Fitzmaurice Street, albeit a smaller section, fares better with only eight premises up for grabs.
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