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:
Flowers by Arrangement, Musselburgh.
Blueberry Gifts, Musselburgh.
Old Smiddy, Gullane.
Jabberwocky Soft Play and Cafe, Haddington.
Haddington Herbals, Haddington.
Whynot? North Berwick.
Dunbar Community Bakery, Dunbar.
The Active Bothy, North Berwick
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.
The recent Let’s Talk Shop support programme in East Lothian provided opportunity for ten independent businesses in East Lothian to receive one-to-one advice from The Shop Doctor in the days following the retail masterclass held on the evening of Tuesday 26th August.
Businesses participating in the programme were Footlights Dancewear and Haddington Herbals in Haddington; whynot?, Tulipa and The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick; Knowes Farm Shop in East Linton; Dunbar T-shirt Shop and 1650 Coffee Shop in Dunbar; Cashmere Barn at Fenton Barns Retail Village and The Merrygoround in Gullane.
Each of the businesses will be receiving a comprehensive Shop Doctor Recommendations Report detailing potential opportunities to help further develop retail vitality within each of the diverse range of businesses visited.
Haddington Farmers’ Market, held on the last Saturday every month, also received a visit from The Shop Doctor with the objective of identifying routes to further enhance footfall to this popular and very friendly event.
Each of the 17 stalls active on the day were reviewed, as was the way in which the market as a whole engaged with customers.
Part-funded by the EU ERDF programme, ‘Revitalising Tourism Retail’ is based on a highly successful pilot provided last year by East Lothian Council. The programme is once again being delivered by Let’s Talk Shop Ltd.
Independent retailers in North Berwick, Dunbar, Haddington, Gullane and East Linton have enrolled for the programme which commences on the evening of Tuesday 26th August with a masterclass looking at the challenges facing the retail sector.
In addition to the masterclass, each participating retailer will benefit from a one-to-one advisory visit from The Shop Doctor that will be supported by a comprehensive Recommendations Report identifying opportunities to help enhance retail vitality.
For more information visit the East Lothian Council website
As part of the programme, The Shop Doctor will also be visiting Haddington Farmers’ Market on Saturday 30th August. The subsequent Recommendations Report will provide pointers to help individual stallholders refresh their offering and identify routes to enhance the market as a whole.
Following initial advisory visits made to independent retailers in April and June of 2013, The Shop Doctor will be revisiting Haddington, Dunbar and North Berwick in the week commencing 20th January 2014 to follow up with the businesses engaged in the Let’s Talk Shop programme funded by East Lothian Council and see what progress has been made.
Each of the participating retailers originally received a comprehensive Recommendations Report following the initial visit which identified opportunities for improvement in the way the businesses engage with their customers.
Recommendations included routes to enhance shop front presentation and impact, opportunities for maximising effectiveness of internal layout and improvements to merchandising. The Shop Doctor also sought to identify other key opportunities to help sustain and develop each of the businesses.
As with all his recommendations, The Shop Doctor initially seeks to identify practical and deliverable solutions that can make a good business even better without extensive investment. “It is important to maximise the investment already made before spending even more” commented The Shop Doctor “often subtle change can deliver considerable benefits without major cost.”
June has seen yet more independent shops in Scotland receiving Shop Doctor support in ongoing support programmes funded by East Lothian Council and Dumfries & Galloway Council.
A total of 21 ‘on-to-one’ shop visits took place across North Berwick, Haddington, Dunbar, Gretna and Lockerbie in June with a further 6 shops in Lockerbie scheduled for a visit in early July. Every visit is supported by a comprehensive Shop Doctor report detailing practical opportunities considered available to improve business vitality within each of the businesses concerned.
Commenting on the visits our Shop Doctor advised that “There continues to be a tremendous variety of retail choice available on our High Streets with independent retailers providing a critical role in maintaining the unique identity of the fabric of a town” and added “retailers, local councils, landlords and the general public each have an important role to play in sustaining business vitality in our towns and all need to work towards a common goal”.
10 independent retailers in and around Dunbar, Haddington and North Berwick have recently received a one to one advisory visit under a programme funded by East Lothian Council.
The visits were preceded by a retail workshop providing insight into the art of effective merchandising and highlighting the critical elements of ensuring that businesses presented themselves in a manner that enhanced their own opportunities alongside those of the trading environment in which they operate.
The workshop included a review of first impression photographs taken that same day which highlighted some of the often overlooked challenges facing each of the towns.
All participating retailers will receive a Shop Doctor Recommendations Report detailing opportunities for enhancing retail vitality within each business and further developing issues identified during the one to one sessions
Up to 18 shops were eligible for the support and it is hoped that The Shop Doctor will be revisiting the area again in the near future to assist more of the areas diverse independent retailers.