It has been said in Finnish that the town centre should be a town’s “living room” - naturally the place where people come together. When Finland is successful in international sport, for example when the men’s team won the ice hockey world championships in 2019, people automatically say, “Nähdään torilla!” - “See you at the town square!” because that is traditionally where you celebrate.
But in 2022, keeping the town centre lively is a challenge all over the western world. When I was a teenager, me and my friends used to go “down town” almost every Saturday. But there is so much more competition for our time these days, from hobbies to play stations, the internet, social media, out-of-town shopping centres, and so on. When you put this together with the fact that online shopping is now so easy, town centres have to fight harder for our attention.
The good news is that in Seinäjoki very many people say they want to have a lively centre. That means that when we get the right kind of shops, cafes, restaurants and other activities, people should come. Organisations like Seinäjoki Development Company INTO, the local business federation Seinäjoen Yrittäjät and local shopkeepers and business owners are working hard to make the centre an attractive place to be.
But as local residents, if we want a lively town centre, then we have to use it. Next weekend is an opportunity to do that as there will be a Komiat Karkelot “Super weekend” campaign on Friday 22.4 and Saturday 23.4 where shops, cafes and restaurants will have special offers. Part of the focus of the event is on giving good customer service to non-Finnish speaking customers.
I have always felt that when you visit shops in Seinäjoki, you normally get nice, friendly customer service. Visitors from other parts of Finland have commented the same thing to me. We can put that service to the test this weekend and see what service we receive when we speak in English, or perhaps another language.
Let’s go and test out the customer service in the town centre. See you down town!
E-P:n WIISE ry