Following a recent revisit to high street shops in Haddington, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Dunbar and Prestonpans our Shop Doctor is now busy producing reports updating recommendations made to the participating businesses during this fourth phase of work for East Lothian Council.
Many of the businesses had already benefited from the recommendations with some able to move forward to implement some of the more challenging opportunities within their shops.
One, Blueberry had recently moved premises to a similar shaped but larger shop and transferred many of the ideas relating to potential improvements within their old shop into the new one.
Dunbar Community Bakery had undergone the most extensive work delivering a much brighter and more attractive interior that was not only an improvement for customers but made working within the shop much easier. Hopefully the excellent upgrade will help enhance sales and onward profitability.
The relocated counter at Flowers by Arrangement in Musselburgh had materially improved accessibility around the shop by opening up the entrance and exposing more of the shelving on the right hand side. Still more improvements to come, especially to the lighting.
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.
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.
Excellent street sculpture elements within the enhanced public realm in Lockerbie, a great talking point.
Of the retailers originally visited it is pleasing that all but one are still providing great service to the local and visitor community although the traditional haberdashery shop Wightmans is now an Opticians.
In addition the co-operative Project Art has recently relocated its displays into Elegance making way for a new venture in the double fronted premises being vacated by them by opposite the Town Hall. Indications of a new, and very appropriate, business venture opening soon.
Two of the businesses have also expanded their offering with additional ground floor space made available at Elegance (Gift Shop) and expansion to include the adjacent shop unit at Anne Maries (Fashion). Curvaceous has relocated to smaller, but no less suitable, premises and the refurbished Margaret’s (Post Office) is also looking great, as are all of the others businesses involved in the Let’s Talk Shop Programme.
There are still a number of empty units in high visibility locations but the town felt vibrant with the enhanced public realm in the town centre providing a pleasing and visually attractive setting.
In Gretna all of the original retailers visited continue to provide to the needs of their community and great to see positive changes at Bliss (Hairdressers), McKenzies ( ex Post Office now gifts and cards), Springfield Post Office and J Kerr & Sons (Butcher). All businesses were holding their own against the draw of the nearby Gretna Gateway.
An evening retail workshop focusing on best practice in relation to visual merchandising and overall shop presentation is to take place on Monday 17 November at the Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries.
In this latest visit to Dumfries, in addition to the workshop, the Shop Doctor will be working with up to 32 independent retailers who will not only be receiving an advisory visit in the new year, but a mystery assessment visit between now and Christmas.
This is the final stage of the Shop Doctor Support Programmes for Dumfries & Galloway Council that will have seen some 232 shops across 15 towns visited and in receipt of one-to-one advice since March 2012.
For further information, please contact Grant Coltart on email@example.com
As part of the Dumfries & Galloway Business Week, our Shop Doctor presented the “Bricks with Clicks” workshop on Monday 27th October. The presentation looked at the challenges facing online retailing and how shops might engage in the online opportunity.
The workshop included a formal PowerPoint presentation followed by a discussion about issues facing the retailers in attendance.
Feedback received since the workshop has indicated that the retailers attending the session found it informative and are intending to further increase their engagement online either through website development or active participation on social media platforms.
Fourteen of Moffat’s independent traders took part in the recent Shop Doctor support programme following the well-attended Masterclass on the evening of Monday 20th October.
An intriguing range of some of the town’s hidden gems were visited on the days following the Masterclass enabling our Shop Doctor to better understand the objectives of the individual traders and identify roots to help further improve their existing businesses.
Participating retailers included 17 Reasons, The Art Work Room, Brodies Restaurant & Wine Bar, Café Ariete, Carole’s Milk Bar, Chantillie House, Eclectic Emporium, Flowers by Fiona, Harvest Time, Manse Furnishings, Moffat Pottery, Pets Corner, Present Time and R. Little Bakers Ltd.
As with every other retailer visited in this programme, funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council, a comprehensive Shop Doctor recommendations report will be compiled, identifying the opportunities to help increase their trading vitality.
The next stage in the programme will be delivered in Dumfries from Monday 17th November. Retailers interested in participating should contact Grant Colthart at Dumfries & Galloway Council via Grant.Coltart@dumgal.gov.uk
Preparations are well in hand for another series of one-to-one advisory sessions with independent retailers in Dumfries & Galloway when the Shop Doctor visits Moffat in the week commencing October 20th.
These sessions will take place on the days following a Retail Masterclass which is being presented to retailers on the Monday evening.
Our Shop Doctor comments “With the challenges facing our High Streets still impacting on trading vitality, it is essential to ensure that individual shops and their towns as a whole recognise the importance of setting themselves aside from others by becoming destinations that enhance the customer experience”.
The Masterclass and subsequent visits will help those involved in the support programme to recognise and implement routes to maximising such opportunities.
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.