Smaller businesses sign up to Our Bury St Edmunds benefits

Marcia Riddington owner of Smoking Monkey

Marcia Riddington owner of Smoking Monkey - Credit: Smoking Monkey

Almost 30 businesses that would not usually be eligible for the benefits of Business Improvement District (BID) membership in Bury St Edmunds have voluntarily signed up to join the organisation. 

It has been 10 years since the first member approached Our Bury St Edmunds chief executive Mark Cordell asking how they could join the newly formed BID and after one of the most difficult trading years in memory due to the pandemic, dozens of others are also opting to reap the benefits of the support on offer.

More than 400 businesses over a rateable value threshold are automatically members of the BID, but smaller businesses who pay less in business rates do not qualify. 

Some of those opting to join, such as the Farmers' Club and Theatre Royal are of an eligible size but marginally outside the BID's defined 'town-centre' boundary.

Marcia Riddington who owns Smoking Monkey, an antiques shop in St Johns Street, is one of the most recent to sign up to the BID.

The shop opened in 2016 and Mrs Riddington, who is a passionate advocate of the High Street, said: “Our Bury St Edmunds offers great value for money to its business members.

"The free training courses alone are so helpful but there’s the support aspect, working on behalf of the businesses with other organisations such as local authorities plus the general promotion of independent businesses, St Johns Street itself and the town centre in general.”

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Mr Cordell said: “Our very first voluntary member was Auntie Pam’s Sweet Shop in The Traverse in April 2011.

Mark Cordell, CEO at ourburystedmunds BID.

Mark Cordell, CEO at ourburystedmunds BID. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brownn

"At that time I said that I wanted the BID to be an organisation that companies in the town would want to be part of and I’m delighted that since then we’ve had a steady number of voluntary members continue their membership year after year.

"As we emerge from a particularly challenging time, four small independent businesses have signed up for membership in the last month alone.

"I look forward to working with them and all our members to maximise trading opportunities as shoppers and visitors return to the town centre.”