Portland announces its very own business chamber

ASSOCIATES: Members of the executive committee of the new Portland Business Incorporation Heather Palmer, Leanne Fitzgerald, Andrew Neville and Lorna Nicholson.
ASSOCIATES: Members of the executive committee of the new Portland Business Incorporation Heather Palmer, Leanne Fitzgerald, Andrew Neville and Lorna Nicholson.

Business owners in Portland have banded together to create a business chamber for the town. The Portland Business Incorporation is organising a month-long Christmas celebration in Portland, in part to get the new association off the ground.

“We just felt we wanted and needed a representative body for the businesses in Portland. A central body where things can be organised by businesses in town. There are a lot of community organisations in Portland but not for businesses as such,” said Andrew Neville, the president of the Portland Business Incorporation and owner of ANT Fitness. 

“The association committee is going to meet every one or two months. But right now we are meeting weekly as we prepare for the Christmas festival and get plans in place.”

BORN TO RUN: Andrew and Monique Neville at the Born to Run festival they organised earlier this year in Kremer Park. Picture: PHOEBE MOLONEY.

BORN TO RUN: Andrew and Monique Neville at the Born to Run festival they organised earlier this year in Kremer Park. Picture: PHOEBE MOLONEY.

Mr Neville said he hopes to attract as many businesses to the association as possible. He has sent out invitations to forty businesses in the district and is aiming to have at least half of those companies join the incorporation.  

“The first thing we are looking at is creating a united support group for the businesses out here, so we can be there for each other and work together,” Mr Neville said.

“Secondly, we want to advertise and promote Portland and its businesses to the wider region and try to get people off the highways into Portland to check out what we have here.” 

Mr Neville said he believes there is a positive feeling among businesses operating in Portland at the moment. 

“I don’t know what it is but there is a really good feeling about the town. I think because the town has become well serviced over the past five years, there’s now two doctors, a dentist, a solicitor and some places to eat and the gym too. Portland’s got that country town existence but it’s close enough to everything else and is a friendly community too.” 

Apart from building its membership, the incorporation’s first task is organising a Christmas festival that will extend through the month of December. 

“We want to showcase Portland and bring that Christmas spirit to the town as well. We’ve got a really good response from businesses, everyone wants to get involved and chip in, and the ones in town will be putting lights up.

“We are really looking forward to creating a month-long draw card for people to come to Portland. We want to get the town sparkling again.”

The association has not announced their full list of events for the month yet but they will be involved in hosting a Christmas lights competition for local residents, carols by candlelight, outdoor trading and a possible Christmas movie screening at the Crystal Theatre. 

The Portland Business Incorporation’s executive committee is made up of Andrew Neville (president), Leanne Fitzgerald (vice president), Lorna Nicholson (secretary) and Heather Palmer (treasurer). To become a member contact Andrew Neville on 0427 268 348.