Rallying cry for Oban business meeting

Daniel MacIntyre, of Little Bay Trading Company, Oban

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Oban Business Club – which was set up virtually during lockdown – is planning its inaugural meeting later this month.

Business leaders have been invited to a summit at The View on George Street on September 17 after informal conversations over the summer.

The free club has managed to draw 65 members so far and the entertainment venue can accommodate up to 80 people with social distancing respected.

Organiser Daniel MacIntyre explained that a decision on the meeting capacity would be made following rulings from the Scottish Government over indoor events.

Mr MacIntyre, of the Little Bay Trading Company, said the first meeting was a big step forward.

He said: ‘We are going to have to start coming together to start planning our response to recovery, we have to collaborate and we have to get to know one another.’

As for the agenda, members will be given a chance to introduce themselves, their business and background.

How Oban responds for a winter with many unknowns is likely to take centre stage for discussion.

The platform will also be open for updates from organisations including BID4Oban and Women In Business.

Mr MacIntyre said it was important that the club did not duplicate effort or over-rely or pass responsibility onto established organisations including the Oban and Lorn Tourism Alliance, or Argyll and Bute Council.

He said said: ‘The meeting  will be very open and we will discuss how we can structure this group, how can we all work to support each other because it is not about selling to each other – it’s about moving our business community forward and how we market the area, make footfall busier and reduce unemployment.’

Businesses are well aware that trading tends to tail off between October and March.

Mr MacIntyre said it was the equivalent of ‘two winters’ and there remained uncertainty around local lockdowns and the impact of lockdowns elsewhere in Scotland nullifying the ‘staycation’ market who might have headed to Oban.

‘Regardless of what people say we are a seasonal town,’ he said. ‘When you don’t have events on and things to do and there’s going to be no winter festival and no furlough, we are entering an abyss and there are so many unknowns.’

‘We’ve got good people in the town and have got the capabilities in the town – let’s make sure all the effort is aligned and we have the right people doing the right things and not pulling in different directions.

‘We need to be smart because we can’t throw money at things. We are all going to have to step up to the plate.’

To sign up to the club, visit www.obanview.com/meetings/oban-business-club/