September 19 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Broadcast is today launching a Shop Local campaign in a bid to help the high street thrive and encourage people to support their local businesses.
As part of Independent Retailer Month, we are hoping to persuade shoppers to stop travelling out of town and, instead, utilise what they have on their doorstep.
Dunmow’s high street is a traditional, vibrant, bustling and lively place – and contrary to what some may think, it has plenty to offer.
Unique shops, quaint tearooms and authentic pubs are just some of the options available.
But if people are not spending their money in these places, Dunmow’s charm could be lost.
Our campaign, supported by Great Dunmow Town Council and MP Sir Alan Haselhurst, aims to drive customers back to the old-fashioned way of shopping and keep alive the magic of our historic Flitch town.
Town clerk Caroline Fuller said: “Great Dunmow is a great place to shop and the town council supports the Broadcast in this campaign.
“The town’s shops, businesses and services cover most needs and have so much to offer.
“The mix of individual and independent stores and the thriving weekly market are unusual, refreshing and set Great Dunmow apart. Support your local shops!”
Over the coming months we will be printing numerous articles showcasing the highlights of the town – and why it should be your first point of call for all your shopping needs.
Sir Alan, whose father kept a pharmacy, was keen to show his support.
He told the Broadcast: “Some of my earliest pocket money was earned working behind the counter.
“I’m very much a small shopkeeper person. I support the campaign – you must keep small businesses going.
“The fact is that the small business person is always trading on service.
“He or she is the person you know and always has a smile on their face.”
The Mayor’s take
Residents need to be promoting the benefits of their high street, according to Dunmow’s mayor.
Cllr Jonathan Cadwallader feels there is already a “thriving community” in the town but more can be done to ensure people spend their money in local businesses.
He told the Broadcast: “Maybe it is up to us to promote the town. When people ask where I am from I do not just say Dunmow, I also say how wonderful Dunmow is.
“We have a fantastic array of eateries, obviously we have a supermarket in the middle of the town with a car park and we have most things you can buy in Dunmow – even light bulbs which was a contentious issue for a while! It is about getting across the idea that you can do everything you need to here.”
Despite having a regular stream of customers visiting the town centre shops, economic development officer at Uttlesford District Council (UDC), Simon Jackson, believes businesses cannot be complacent and constantly need to attract more shoppers.
He said: “The reason that Dunmow stands out is that with the majority of businesses, the person who serves you owns that business, and that’s why you get such excellent customer service. It is a vibrant town and people are coming into shop, but the business owners need to work hard to try and attract more people.
“If you get lots of people in the town it is good, but once they are there they need to be spending money. We can’t just expect people to come here. It is important that the Dunmow businesses make sure people know what is available locally.”
Dunmow ‘brilliant place’ for independent businesses
A business owner jumped at the chance to bring life back to an “ideal venue” in Dunmow.
Andy Coleman, 30, has spent the past few months transforming what used to be Traffic, into The Flitch House.
The over 21s venue, which opened about three weeks ago, serves tapas and an array of different drinks, including wines and cocktails. It is also next door to another one of his latest ventures, Flitch Coffee.
Mr Coleman said: “I grew up in Dunmow and used to go to Traffic when I was younger. I have always thought it would be the ideal venue. If I just went in and just painted the place it probably would not have worked. But we have spent about three months transforming the place and it looks completely different. It is really exciting and we have already had a great response.”
Mr Coleman, who also owns Bellus Boutique, thinks Great Dunmow is a “brilliant place” for independent businesses.
He said: “The town is full of character but what I think really it is the people that makes it. Everyone is so nice and they always come back. The problem is actually getting people here.”
He added: “We have a lot of places in the town who just do the same thing over and over again. People just become disinterested. You have to keep things fresh and then people will keep coming back.”
Have your say
• Tell the Broadcast what you think of your high street. Is there a wide enough variety of shops? Do we need more places to eat and drink?
Do you use the town for shopping regularly? If so why? Or if you do not, what puts you off?
Is there enough out there for every age group? Do enough events take place?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know your views.