November 1 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 31, 2014
A scheme helping independent businesses work together for a more vibrant high street is looking to expand from the Suffolk town where it built its reputation into new communities across the county.
Savagewood, the company that helped launch My Southwold in 2012 as a means of “galvanising” the town’s business community, has announced plans for a similar scheme in Framlingham.
Company director Richard Woodhall said the initiative was about making the high street a “more appealing place to visit and shop”.
Businesses entering the initiative display branded signs in their shopwindow advertising special offers, which are publicised through social media campaigns for customers with membership cards to claim.
In Southwold, he said the move came as a reaction to the influx of multinationals in the town and had grown to create a “huge social media presence” involving 90% of the local business community.
“There’s feeling it has galvanised Southwold’s independent retailers to be a much stronger group of businesses who now represent a much more vibrant high street,” he said.
After some initial fine-tuning, Mr Woodhall said he now felt confident it could be rolled out to other towns.
Presenting the scheme to Framlingham Business Association (FBA) at its Summer Social event, he said the scheme could offer traders the same co-operative feel as enjoyed during the town’s annual Sausagefest event – but all the year round.
Jenny Stockman, the FBA chairman, said she was “very open-minded to the scheme” though she was conscious that a number of businesses in the town already offered similar initiatives with which she did not want to conflict.
“We are at the stage of exploring and investigating the scheme and if Framlingham can reap the benefits then that is great but we’ve got to follow due diligence and get the businesses on board first,” she said.
If accepted, Savageweood would deliver the scheme in Framlingham for no charge.
Mr Woodhall said he would then offer to carry out further paid work with members using his “huge retail experience” to help grow their businesses.