A Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) official said Maitland has set the benchmark for retail reforms, with a forum for industry stakeholders being organised to resurrect the city's trading slump.
Assistant Secretary for the SDA's Newcastle and Northern Branch, David Bliss, praised Maitland Business Chamber for taking the initiative to organise the retail forum, calling it a positive move.
"The SDA congratulates the Maitland Business Chamber for taking this initiative and we would welcome the opportunity to participate," Mr Bliss said.
"This is an important first step toward identifying those issues and barriers which are preventing the growth and success of the retail precinct."
Maitland's employment and retail sectors took another blow in January with news four major retailers would shut up shop and another two on the brink of collapse.
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While traders in The Levee are already suffering with multiple vacant tenancies, Stockland Green Hills hasn't been left unscathed with a raft of the centre's businesses about to close their doors.
National music and entertainment chain Sanity closed both its Green Hills and Maitland stores. Curious Planet (formerly National Geographic) announced it would be closing its Green Hills store within weeks.
Harris Scarfe announced it will also soon close its Green Hills store after the organisation recently went into receivership.
Maitland children's wear business Blues Child is also closing its High Street business.
More recently Jeans West (which has a store at Green Hills) and wine giant McWilliams (Mt Pleasant Wines at Pokolbin), have gone into voluntary administration.
Both businesses plan to continue to trade while administrators scurry to find buyers for the companies.
"To the best of our knowledge this is the first occasion an initiative like this (retail forum) has been proposed in our region for many years," Mr Bliss said.
"Through listening to the diverse views of all stakeholders and better collaboration the union is confident that we can identify opportunities and solutions to improve the precinct and the industry more generally."
The forum will be held in April.
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