Bridgnorth Retailers Meeting – Giovannis
16/10/19

Agenda

  1. Introductions & apologies
  2. Poppies
  3. Xmas Sheep
  4. Xmas Opening
  5. VE Day Celebrations
  6. Town Plan

Apologies received – thanks so much for taking the time:

Jayne – Just Jayne, Andy – The Crown, Sarah – Severn Hospice, Debbie – Hallmark,
Kevin – Roobarb, Gail – Severn Wishes, Chrissy – Kitt, Maggie – The Travelwallet, Michelle – Hopscotch, Nina – Living Box, Ian – Wild Heart,  Dawn Jones – Mothers Goodies, Beckie – The Small Company, Roy – Chill Salon, Parvinder – Boots Opticians, Paul – Graze

Meeting Notes:

Present:

Linda Baker (Linelle) Jenny Bone (MLWS) Sally Themans (Love Bridgnorth) Emma Bristow (St Marys) Hannah Vyse (Little Green House Nursery) Sam & Nigel Amery (Giovannis) Ellie Carpenter (Prezzo) Carianne Bishop (Cake Room) Sarah Cawdell (St Marys) Carrie & Mollie Bate (The Perfume Laboratory) Emma Mitchell (Creative Outlet) Kim & Richard Stillwell (Bridgnorth Print)

Sally thanked everyone for the attendance and thanked Sam Amery and the Giovannis team for their hospitality – lovely tea/coffee and crepe bites. Very warm welcome to Carrie and Mollie from The Perfume Laboratory. Everyone introduced themselves.

Poppies

Cllr (and deputy mayor) Kirstie Hurst Knight met with Emma at the Creative Outlet. Last year really successful. Format same as last year please. All raises money for the local branch of the British Legion. Some poppies are for decorating shop windows etc, some crochet ones are for selling on (to raise money as above) so priority is to make (and sell) as many of those as possible.
Emma happy to host – but people need to come and make – meet at the Creative Outlet Tuesdays 3-6pm (there will be cake!). Richard to see if the Lions want to come and join in.
Retailers who would like to participate are asked to donate (please) if they are having poppies for their windows (donations are for the charity!) it’s also requested that people come and collect poppies from Emma – we haven’t got the capacity to deliver to the shops like we did last year.

Jen at My Little Wedding Shop is also making poppies for gardens and needs plastic bottles please – drop them into the shop.

Let’s try to get Bridgnorth looking fab again. Please aim to have poppies in window by 1st Nov. Richard (Bridgnorth Print) may well be able to help with posters. Thanks Richard.

Any social media please use hashtag #BridgnorthRemembers

Xmas Sheep – from Sarah Cawdell St Mary’s

Last year Angels Festival –  thank you. This year something easier as retailers busy time. St Mary’s will run a sheep trail through the town – with as many shops as want them to have sheep in their festive shop windows.
To run throughout December – would be great if retailers would kindly incorporate in their shop window a small sheep – which will come already named with a nametag.

Each child in the towns primary schools will be given a copy of the sheep-trail with further copies available at the library (thank you Emma) so the idea is that this will bring people into the town who will linger and shop as they hunt for the sheep – and children collect the names – like a treasure hunt.


Sarah will be coming round in November to distribute the flock. There is no charge for the sheep – they are a gift from the Church to the retailers.

Please let Sarah know if you are interested in taking part or put it on the WhatsApp group – George – can you possibly add Sarah’s phone (07722 842419)



Christmas opening
Agreed that we would do this again on Thursday 12 and Thursday 19 of December and using ‘Think Bridgnorth this Christmas’ campaign strapline.

Jen Bone has delivered letters to retailers and all retailers asked to donate £5 towards marketing costs – a leaflet like last year and ‘boosted posts’ on social media.

Jenny with help from Nina will also put together samples of what can be purchased in Bridgnorth – magazine type displays so please get images and prices to Jen ASAP. All to be published on Love Bridgnorth as central point and then shared by individual shop pages – it’s a question of us all promoting our town together in a unified way.

Entertainment on nights. Nina is coordinating. 6-8 musicians booked. Concordia Ladies Choir singing on 12th and Val trying hard to get Bewdley Brass Band to play again. Nina from living box will oversee musical arrangements!

Also proposed to contact the Theatre on the Steps to see if they could do a little bit of the forthcoming panto as entertainment. Has any one done this??

Banners can go up in good time to try and get as many people to shop in Bridgnorth as much as possible in the run-up to Christmas.

Small Business Saturday – 7th Dec

Retailers present said they would like to try and mark this as much as possible – it’s a national campaign to get people using their High Streets and independents more.
https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/  – loads of help and resources on there.
Sally to run campaign on Love Bridgnorth – social media hashtags are #SmallBizSatUk and #LoveBridgnorth  – shared the idea that Ironbridge are doing – Shops ‘inside out’ and have market stall type idea (where practical!) everyone pretty keen on this idea.

Possible Santa and Sleigh on the High Street? Sally to ask Rugby Club about borrowing sleigh – Bridgnorth Lions could supply a Santa…

VE Day 2020

Bridgnorth Town Council are planning a street party on the May Bank Holiday. Retailers expressed keenness to get involved. Sally Love Bridgnorth has communicated this to the BTC events committee.

Social Media clinics

Sally and Nina to organise for New Year. These practical sessions will have the aim of helping retailers be more visible on line in order to attract customers to the High Street / their shops.


Bridgnorth Town Plan – Retailers Group
Maggie (Travelwallet) is sitting on this group – which is run by Cllr Clive Dyson.
She said that more retailers are needed on group as well as Sally as a ‘High St expert’. Sally, Sam Amery (Giovannis), Amanda Godson (Gadsbys) attended meeting on 30 Sept.

Discussed some of the ideas and 2 slides from this process and the following points were made by retailers:

(Original Slides from Clive in black – points raised at meeting in italics)

From last meeting

  • Policing: theft and unruly behaviour; better coordination with CCTV system; shop watch and pub watch; improvement meetings. Yes would be good WhatsApp group works well
  • Litter is a problem, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, after the market. A really big problem particularly on Sat eves! Market traders leave a lot of litter. A real blight to the Saturday evening economy…
  • Should there be a Business Improvement District (BID)? Reluctant to pay more – trading conditions are tough
  • Business rates all go to Shropshire Council. How can some be ring-fenced?

The Town Council does not receive any of the business rate.

  • Support for business and tourism important. Avoid undue adverse effects on

residents.

  • On which days of the week do business do most of their trade? Sundays very good for some, Thursdays and Fridays – not Saturdays generally.
  • Which events bring people to the town who spend in the shops? Music festival helps hospitality businesses alot
  • The operation of the market should be reviewed.  Retailers naturally get frustrated with market – would like it to smarten up
  • How can more retailers be attracted to town and existing ones supported?

Upgrade premises externally and internally and to attract wider range of shops
A shopping destination?

A review of rates long overdue

Parking availability for retailers /businesses in town; over zealous traffic wardens are off putting;

  • How can the High Street be made more attractive to pedestrians?
    Black sliding signs out of dates and none in Listley Street; need to feel safer
  •  
  • How can the town adopt a “unified marketing strategy”? This could build on

previous success on the Great British High Street.

Felt this was being done by these meetings?? More support of the group v welcome – pleased to see Town Clerk at meeting

Suggestions for Town Centre

  • Do not (fully) pedestrianise(?)

Car access to continue for pop and shop.

Likely emissions limits.

Reconfigure in the ‘Dutch style’.

Retailers would like to explore the possibility of trailing Saturday morning pedestrianisation for a couple of months just to see how it would work. They feel shoppers – who are more likely to be visitors/tourists visit on a Sat and want to ‘wander’ and shop and browse the market – also it would create more space between the market and shops and therefore free up the pavements so they are not the usual squeezed and frenzied space. Think it will create a better atmosphere. Absolutely NO to pedestrianizing during week when pop and shop is important.

  • Obstructions and blockages due to deliveries:

A hub and spoke (pick up and drop off – PODU) system.

Restrict the times at which deliveries can be made?

Deliveries are really big issue for Listley St and Whitburn street – which can get blocked by Blue Badge holders in loading bays

  • Car parking close to the centre is be critical to the commercial health of

the town. Yes – this was the main thrust of the debate. Retailers feel that the constant narrative of ‘not enough parking in Bridgnorth’ was putting shoppers off visiting. They would like to see better signposting to parking – the routes from car parks into town and how long it would take to walk – a parking map of the town complete with how many spaces in each car park (Sally has example)

Better connection with the SVR – soime way of bringing visitors into town also debated – linked up loyalty scheme or travel ticket?

  • Major road improvements might allow through traffic to bypass the High Street.
    May not be affordable and take years to implement.

If ever completed, through traffic could be diverted from the High Street.

  • Park and ride, even if enhanced, considered to be a secondary option.

Funding from Shropshire Council.

Retailers would like more communication from the CofC about P&R – whilst really keen to support it and very grateful – they would be interested to know how many cars park each Saturday – when it is running and not running etc. Not too sure how much benefit it yields – would like some data if possible – and would be more likely to support if they knew how much ££ it adds. But at the same time mindful and appreciative of hours given up by volunteers.

Next meeting Wednesday 27 Nov 5.30pm Venue to be advised

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