Why these business owners want you to join the party
THERE'S plenty of room in the Top of Town for an entertainment and restaurant precinct and business owner Ross Williams wants to be a part of it.
Mr Williams took over Fourthchild cafe five years ago, after three decades in the industry, and has witnessed a recent decline in hospitality business confidence in the area.
He says now is the time for customers and business owners to make the most of what Brisbane St has to offer after dark in the wake of a series of pub closures.
"It is a bit of a worry at the moment. Daytimes are our strongest times. Nights are dying because businesses are closing," he said.
"It's a good little community during the day. There are no franchisees in food. It's not all out of a box.
"The businesses are all making their food and that's unique.
"Just before Christmas, I thought things were going well and starting to move. I was open five nights a week.
"There was Johnny Ringos, Dusty's, the German place, a couple of Chinese places and the Pumpyard was around the corner, with the nightclub next door. It was starting to look really good.
"The past few months have got a bit bad and I am only trading two nights now because it just got too inconsistent. It all comes down to the fact there is not enough happening for people to come out and be walking around."
Mr Williams said major events like the Supercars, CMC Rocks, Ipswich Festival and shows at the Civic Centre were the ideal opportunity to lure customers outdoors and into bars and restaurants.
He said it attracted people to the Top of Town from elsewhere in the state.
"I think we want to make the precinct an entertainment precinct with restaurants, bars and maybe a couple of nightclubs. We need something like our own South Bank.
"I don't know what the solution is. It's embarrassing that there is nowhere for these people to go.
"I think we are missing out."