Tourist Information

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.

Click here for pdf mini brochure

Contact Windermere Works

Bake House Information Brochure

Sugar Store Information Brochure


shops; dalbeattie; retail revitalisation; retail survival; Shop Doctor,  Lets Talk Shop; In a recent follow up visit to Dalbeattie retailers who participated in the original Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme it was pleasing that many of them were feeling considerably more positive about their trading vitality.

Whilst there had been some shop closures in the town it is likely that it was not the economic climate alone that had contributed to their demise. Other businesses had invested and reports from those who had implemented improvements following the initial recommendations were very positive.

Whilst many of the participating retailers had taken advantage of the Let’s Talk Shop grants scheme to help introduce recommendations many were now waiting for implementation of the Shop Front Improvements Scheme to enable more robust external improvements to be undertaken.

One major improvement to the gateway impact of the town was the investment being undertaken at the Pheasant Hotel.

The dilapidated condition of the premises at the time of the original visit reflected poorly on the town and it is hoped that the major investment underway to create the Birch Tree Inn, Restaurant, Bar and Hotel will materially improve the arrival impact  whilst increasing the number of bed spaces available, a positive step forward for tourism.

Let’s Talk Shop has recently been awarded the contract to work with Dumfries & Galloway Council, VisitScotland and 12 quality assessed Visitor Attractions across Dumfries and Galloway.

The intention of this pilot project is to add value to support to be delivered by VisitScotland who will be advising the attractions involved how to sustain and improve the quality of the visitor experience based upon their established Quality Assurance criteria.

Let’s Talk Shop will be focusing on identification of routes to improve overall business performance  and recommendation of areas for business improvement capable of delivering positive impact on both business vitality and the visitor experience.

“This is not just about enhancing any retail aspect within the attraction” advised Bill Smith of Let’s Talk Shop, “it’s about taking an holistic look at each of the attractions and identifying routes to enhance their vitality and opportunity for effective and profitable engagement with those visiting”

Dawn Hunter-Ellis of DHE Associates will be applying her valuable experience of the tourism sector by working in association with Let’s Talk Shop in the delivery of this project.

This year has not been the best  for footfall and revenue generation at many attractions.  The negative impact of the Olympics on incoming tourism , unforgiving weather conditions and the ongoing gloom over the economic climate all contributing to a severe downturn in attendance figures across the sector.

Taking time out to look at your attraction from an impartial viewpoint, particularly that of the customer,  is never easy and certainly one of the major challenges facing retailers in their fight for survival on our high streets.

Applying his extensive business development skills, understanding of how customers perceive and use space and wide marketing expertise our ‘Shop Doctor’ can bring a refreshing insight into identifying issues impacting on business performance at visitor attractions.

Looking at an attraction through  a fresh pair of eyes can provide an insight into the business that may not have previously been considered. Link this to recommendations as to how to improve the way the attraction interfaces with the customer, ideas to improve catering or retail efficieny and suggestions regarding routes to effective diversification the outome could prove very stimulating. 

If you are considering how to revitalise your attraction in time for 2013 now might be a good time to talk to Let’s Talk Shop.  Our skills are not just orientated towards retail development alone, they are transferable into any business where direct customer interface and delivery of high levels of customer service are critical to maintaining existing levels and, ideally, attracting increased and profitable attendance in the future.

The Shop Doctor is currently working on a project  to assist Cheshire East Council identify opportunities to improve the shopping experience in the ten market towns involved in the Love Local Life Loyalty Card initiative.

The Shop Doctor is assessing the physical experience of shoppers in the towns  and also evaluating the effectiveness of their on-line presence and how it might be more effectively utilised to attract increased shopping activity to each of the towns.

The final report will highlight issues  impacting on the shopping experience and propose recommendations that will help inform future initiatives to help maintain and develop retail vibrancy in towns across the County.

The towns involved are Alderley Edge, Alsager, Bollington, Congleton, Disley, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middlewich, Sandbach and Wilmslow.

Retailers in Dumfries will be benefiting from a programme of specialised Shop Doctor support funded by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

Our Shop Doctor, Bill Smith, will be delivering one of his motivational and informative retail masterclass workshops to retailers  on the evening of Tuesday 20th March at the DG One Leisure Complex

In addition to the masterclass 12 independent retailers in the town will be given the opportunity to receive an ‘in store’ surgery from The Shop Doctor enabling them to directly benefit from his specialised advice.

Each of the twelve shops enrolled for  ‘one to one’ visits will also receive a comprehensive recommendations report focused on helping re-energise each of the individual businesses taking part and will also be eligible for a £500 grant towards implementation of recommendations made by the Shop Doctor.  A follow-up visit with the Shop Doctor will also be arranged 12 months later.

Further information about the retail workshop and the specialised ‘one to one’ Shop Doctor visits will be posted below as soon as it becomes available:

6th March 2012: Dumfries & Galloway Council

22 February 2012: South of Scotland Business Solutions


Adopting some simple resolutions for the New Year could help attract new customers to your shop.

Why not try some of these:

  • Regularly look at your business from the customers point of view, remedy any failings immediately.
  • Keep your shop front well swept and free of weeds and rubbish.
  • Refresh the message on your ‘A’ sign, keep it informative, clean and sensibly located.
  • Display your business contact details clearly on the shop fascia or window.
  • Request the window cleaner to clean the shop fascia on a regular basis. What about cleaning the insides more regularly?
  • Ensure window displays are regularly changed and that the window is working for you even when the shop is closed.
  • Illuminate your window effectively and keep window lighting on after the shop is closed.
  • Repair light fittings immediately something goes wrong and keep bulbs to the same specification.
  • Remove unnecessary notices from your shop window and door – particularly if they are promoting another business.
  • Remember the age old retail adage – EYE LEVEL IS BUY LEVEL” and use it to maximise the appeal of your window and interior displays.

Look out for more simple resolutions from ‘The Shop Doctor’ to help make your shop work harder for you in 2012.

Sometimes addressing the simplest of things can make the greatest impact.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and let’s hope for a more prosperous one.




Public toilets are not always available where or when you need them, there is often a queue at the ladies, and facilities for disabled people, children and for changing babies are not always adequate.

However, public toilet provision is at the discretion of local authorities, and there is currently no legal requirement for Councils to provide any toilets at all. In fact 40% of public toilets have closed in the last ten years. The campaign group ‘We need the Loo’, a joint venture between the Women’s Design Service, the British Toilet Association and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering has therefore launched an online petition to ask the Government to make adequate public toilet provision a legal requirement.

They are asking for adequate toilet facilities for everybody, including men, women, children, babies and disabled people.

If you would like to play your part in ensuring we have public toilets as part of more sustainable, comfortable and inclusive communities, please publicise this petition. It has its own Facebook page, and the petition can be found by searching for public toilets on the government’s e-petition web site, or by using this link –

Well maintained, well equipped, clean and easily accessible toilets can make a real contribution to how customers use our towns – a way has to be found to improve, not remove, public toilet provision.

epetition flyer – we need the loo

epetition press release