The Penrith CBD Corporation is celebrating 10 years of supporting local business owners to “unlock the opportunities” in their city.
They marked the occasion with a special event on Tuesday night, MC’d by the Weekender’s own Troy Dodds.
CEO Gai Hawthorn said it’s surreal to think it’s already been a decade.
“We started with an agreement [with Council] to activate, rejuvenate and work with the local businesses,” she said.
“From that point, we’ve grown every year.
“We work very closely with the council to ensure that we’re aligned with their 20-year vision.”
Hawthorn said she is immensely grateful for the community’s support.
Looking back, she said Penrith CBD Corporation has collaborated and shared successes with so many businesses, sponsors and volunteers.
“It’s a significant milestone in our journey,” she said.
“We have so many people and businesses who support us and I thank each and every one of them.
“We’ve been blessed that we’ve had the absolute dedication of everybody to make this a remarkable city.”
Hawthorn may be steering the ship, but she always gives credit to the hard-working team that surrounds her.
She said she is very proud of how her small team has been able to “pivot” when faced with challenges over the past few years.
“I’m very honoured to work with them,” she said.
“We’ve supported our local country areas with drought, we’ve had local fires, we’ve had local flooding and we’ve had COVID, twice.
“We run with a very small team of four and we didn’t stop, we pivoted and packed release hampers for half the day and helped the businesses the other half of the day.
“That shows me the resilience and the commitment of the team.”
According to Hawthorn, it’s been a very fast 10 years and Penrith has a very bright future ahead.
“Working with local charities has put a new dimension, not only for our business model, but for many of the local businesses to get involved and stay connected with their community,” she said.
“We’re seeing a lot of change and we’re really changing into the city that we’ve all talked about.”
Formerly with the ABC, Makayla is a graduate of Western Sydney University. She covers a variety of news topics for the Weekender, including courts.