A small business summit aimed at giving operators tools to promote their livelihoods on the ground and on social media platforms, could be the catalyst for change in the struggling Levee precinct.
Maitland Business Chamber has organised the inaugural event which will be held at Maitland Regional Art Gallery on Thursday, October 17.
Chamber President Judy Brown said small business operators work long hours and rarely get a chance to pick the experts' brains.
"This will give them an opportunity to talk to a marketer or planner about how to better promote, market or operate their business.
"The summit will provide a one stop shop and give an overview on where operators may be weak. We're not all good marketers or at doing accounts. This will give them access to services they would not normally access or have time to access."
Ms Brown said some small business operators work 70 to 90 hours a week and often end up falling a bit short in terms of planning, budgets, having a good website or Facebook presence.
"We're doing this in a stall situation so operators can go to the areas where they feel they need the most help and not bombarded with a lot of white noise - information they're familiar with," Ms Brown said. She hopes to make the summit an annual October event.
"The Levee is the heart of small business with a great retail mix but for those empty shops we need the right tenants. We'd like to see The Levee more of an entertainment hub - food, bands, markets - a communal location to have a chat and a coffee as opposed to getting groceries," Ms Brown said.
"To achieve this there must be a constant customer flow. We need to get the community more engaged and into The Levee."