For the last 12 months Lets Talk Shop Ltd has been advising on, and managing, the major refurbishment and transformation of Windermere Business Centre into“Windermere Works”.
The concept to provide more flexible working space was identified in response to the recognition that many small, locally based businesses work from their spare bedrooms, converted garages or dining room tables. Business meetings are often centered on local cafes which, whilst providing a pleasant social environment, might not be the best of locations to openly discuss complex or confidential business issues.
This need has been resolved by the creation of a Hot Desk Hub, Meeting Place and Lounge available on a day basis or on a more permanent relationship where a range of bespoke business support opportunities can be incorporated into the arrangements. These could include call handling, mail management, hosting of seminars or special events. The facilities are also supported by a manned reception delivering a professional first point of contact for those visiting the premises and the businesses working within them.
Add to this the development of two larger fully serviced ground floor office suites, Bake House and Sugar Store and the refurbishment of smaller existing offices on the first floor, businesses seeking to expand their presence in the town, or even relocate into the area, now have an opportunity to occupy a high standard office environment, very different from other accommodation available locally.
With further phases of development in the pipeline the building, that was for many years home to Atkinsons Cake Works, is seeing a transformation that will ensure that Windermere Works for Businesswell into the future.
May 2017 saw yet another round of Shop Doctor visits to East Lothian involving businesses in Musselburgh, Gullane, Elphinstone, North Berwick, Dunbar and Haddington.
Following the successful format of previous visits all of the businesses enrolled in the scheme (administered by East Lothian Council) were invited to attend an evening workshop which provided an important insight into the opportunities available to bricks and mortar shops to present an attractive and engaging presence on their high street to help attract customers into third businesses.
The days following the workshop provided opportunity for our Shop Doctor to spend time at each of the participating businesses providing in depth one to one advice focused on identifying cost effective solutions to enhance their business performance.
A diverse range of businesses once again took part in the scheme including:
The Shop Doctor will be returning to East Lothian at the end of January to revisit businesses in Haddington, Dunbar, North Berwick and Cockenzie.
“This will be my 6th trip to East Lothian” says Bill, “it is always good to catch up with the great range of retail operators that have previously participated in my Let’s Talk Shop Advisory programmes”.
Dependent upon retailer interest it is hoped that a further round of Let’s Talk Shop support will be facilitated later in the year in conjunction with East Lothian Council.
Windermere Business Centre has been providing managed office space in the heart of Windermere for almost 20 years in addition to a variety of other business ventures.
Following recent developments in the management of this family owned business a major programme of investment is now underway. Ground floor space is being transformed to create a new reception area, a break out/business lounge, meeting space, hot desk provision and three separate areas of bespoke office accommodation providing 660, 720 and over 1000sq ft of modern managed office space.
Once home of Atkinsons Cake Factory, and dating back to the early 1900’s, some of the industrial heritage of the building is being recaptured in the refurbishment which, once completed, will enable a wider cross section of local business needs to be accommodated than has previously been possible.
Having been associated with the Business Centre for over a decade, and based within it for a number of years prior to establishing Let’s Talk Shop, it is pleasing that Lets Talk Shop Ltd has now been contracted to assist in the management of the Centre going forward and helping to drive development of the opportunities that it will provide for small to medium enterprise development in South Lakeland.
Watch this space for more news of this exciting development.
First floor space of 394 sq ft has recently become available – if you would like more details please email me on email@example.com or telephone 015394 40020
Tuesday April 12th sees the commencement of another round of Let’s Talk Shop activity across East Lothian.
Following presentation of an evening retail workshop in Haddington on Tuesday 12th our Shop Doctor will be carrying out up to ten one-to-one advisory visits to independent retailers in the area during the rest of the week.
This will be the third occasion that Let’s Talk Shop has been contracted by East Lothian Council to work with retailers and the initial visits will be followed up with a revisit to monitor progress and identify any new opportunities later in the year.
In my recent revisit to retailers in Kirkcudbright it was pleasing to see that many had taken on board recommendations made to them following my original one-to-one visits.
Internal changes implemented within many of the shops was identified as helping to materially improve the way customers “shopped the shop” and contributed towards a more active retail environment during what had not been the best of trading years.
Grant assistance from Dumfries & Galloway Council had also enabled a number of the businesses to upgrade their shopfront presentation and the examples show some after (on the left) and before (on the right) images of a small selection of the businesses visited.
Whilst some changes are quite subtle (such the graphics in the window at Belfry Cafe) and the simple repaint at Wm Law other retailers such as Kennedy’s and Tollbooth Gifts have delivered more dynamic change and materially improved their impact in the town.
With the majority of shops in Kirkcudbright occupied the town presented a varied and active retail environment and, like so many of the towns in Dumfries & Galloway, one well worth visiting.
Thought provoking and entertaining insight into the effective use of the ever changing world of Social Media from Justin and always enlightening to hear the story of the online development of Rosetta Brands.
The Invest in South Lakeland Team at South Lakeland District Council are holding a free Business and Networking Event on Thursday 10 March at Low Wood Hotel, Ambleside.
Taking your product to the online market
Nick Comer, Rosetta Brands Ltd
Improving your high street presence
Bill Smith, The Shop Doctor, Let’s Talk Shop Ltd
Social Media & Twitter for Business
Justin Grammer, PS Business Matters
Doors will open from 6pm for networking, refreshments and registration and the event will start at 6.30pm finishing at 8.30pm.
This free event is open to any South Lakeland businesses including those wanting to re-locate to this area.
Please register online on www.southlakeland.gov.uk/b2b (please note that places are limited to 2 attendees per company).
The Invest in South Lakeland Team at SLDC
It cannot be easy to see your business devastated by flood water, and undoubtedly heartbreaking to see the business you have worked so hard to develop washed away through no fault of your own.
With an understandable desire to get the business back into operation as quickly as possible there is often limited time available to consider whether or not changes to the internal layout of the shop might deliver new business opportunities.
But if you are starting again with a relatively blank canvas do not rush to reinstate what was there before. An opportunity exists to address layout issues that might have previously impacted negatively on the way customers ‘shopped the shop’ . Careful placement of replacement shelving might help alter the way customers circulate; identifying and maximising the impact of new selling hot-spots can help generate additional sales and improving merchandising techniques is easier when you are having to stock the shelves from scratch.
It might even be practical to relocate the counter, just because things have always been in a certain position does not mean that they are in the best position for your business in the future.
Identifying new opportunities, on top of everything else required to get the business up and running again, might deliver some challenges, but it is time that could be well spent.
We would be only too happy to discuss with you how our extensive expertise could help ensure that opportunities are not missed and help identify the silver lining available for your business in the future
SLDC Business Rates – All premises are exempt for 3 months if empty. Industrial premises receive up to 6 months if they become empty. We would only be seeking to confirm whether the flooding had affected the whole premises and preventing any trade from the site. Consideration will be given, where appropriate, to extend these periods via means of a local scheme which is awaiting approval, specific to the flooding. Contact SLDC Taxation Team 01539 793245 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Time To Pay – This scheme allows affected businesses additional time to pay taxes to HMRC, including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. For further details contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 904 7900, set up for those who have been affected by flooding and may have difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. To apply to the Time To Pay Scheme call 0300 200 3835 and discuss with an adviser.
Federation of Small Businesses For Members: for insurance related issues, irrespective of being a policy-holder, contact FSB Insurance on 0345 762 6158. Contact the Legal Advice Line on 03450 727 727 for any legal aspects to the flood and clean-up. The legal documents section of the website also has useful support (log-in required) www.fsb.org.uk For Non- Members: call FSB Insurance Advice Line on 03450 727 727 and speak to Steve Dawson. For employment support: contact Brian Harrison on email@example.com or 01539 730382 For practical support: contact Paul Foster on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07917 628909. Cumbria Tourism – Working with FSB to ensure the impact of the tourism sector is fully captured, and assisted with Government financial support. Please complete it here: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=144948183547
Helpful guidance and updates on the floods are here www.cumbriatourism.org/home/december-floods-guidance. A helpline is available for affected businesses, contact 01539 822222 or email@example.com
United Utilities – Water bills are being suspended for customers who have been forced from their premises, businesses should contact 0345 072 6072. Customers will need to supply a temporary address along with the flooded address. For any water or wastewater issues, call 0345 6723 723. www.unitedutilities.com/emergencies-incidents.aspx corporate.unitedutilities.com/news-media.aspx
Electricity North West – Emergency Contact 0800 195 4141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @ElectricityNW
Cumbria County Council – contact 01228 606060