Dunmow store owners offer to pay customer parking fees
- Credit: Stephanie Harris
Business owners in Great Dunmow have launched their own initiative, to pay for customers' Christmas parking.
Stephanie Harris of The Rose Garden florist, Nikki Anthony of Wardrobe, Heather Bartels of Heather B Designs and Cathy Twiname of Naturals Health and Beauty came up with the idea after realising that a pre-Christmas boost was missing.
Further businesses have joined them including Seedy Blenders, Meadow Hill coffee shop and deli, Scarlett and Stone, RudHair, CJ Mac, Iceni, Chloe’s, Paradise Café, Pilates with Paula, Steeles' Butchers, and Greetings of Dunmow.
They are refunding customer car parking for those who spend £25 in their stores. They are also helping customers who can't work out how to use the new parking machines by paying for the parking for customer cars through the app.
Uttlesford District Council has offered free parking from Christmas Day to January 3.
Stephanie Harris of The Rose Garden florist said: "We want people to come and do their Christmas shopping in Dunmow.
"Other places are offering incentives to do that."
Heather Bartels of Heather B Designs said she felt the new car parking machines were discouraging people from browsing, as they were aware of their car park timings.
She said that as well as gifts, they also can gift wrap the items purchased in store.
"I'm happy to carry it on indefinitely," she said of paying for customer parking.
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Nikki Anthony of ladies fashion boutique Wardrobe said they really wanted to attract customers, as there is uncertainty over possible future Covid restrictions coming into force.
Cathy Twiname of Naturals said she hoped offering to pay for customer parking would boost trade, as "every bit helps". They have a range of gifts for every budget and special offers.
An Uttlesford District Council meeting heard that cash free car parking machines had been installed after 17 machines were targeted for cash, resulting in long delays to fix the machines, the high cost of replacement parts and missing revenue while they were out of action.
The new cashless machines take payment via mobile phone, credit or debit card or via MiPermit - see www.mipermit.com
The trial for the new car park payment machines ran until December 15 and is being reviewed.
Uttlesford District Council said the free car parking from December 25 to January 3 is designed to encourage more people to visit the town centres.
They are also supporting Click It Local, a service that teams up with businesses and delivers orders to customers doors.