Community

Shop Doctor  Lets Talk Shop Dumfries Galloway

Excellent street sculpture elements within the enhanced public realm in Lockerbie,  a great talking point.

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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.

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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.

Monaghans DumfriesAn 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 grant.coltart@dumgal.gov.uk

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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.

IMG_1159 croppedHaddington 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.

 

sponsor screenshot August 2014The latest edition of the Windermere, Bowness and Troutbeck Bridge community magazine arrived through some 5800 local letterboxes during the week commencing 25th August.

The quarterly magazine is compiled on a ‘not for profit’ basis by Let’s Talk Shop Ltd on behalf of the local community and is supported financially by Windermere Town Council, with revenue derived from local advertising and through sponsorship by the businesses identified above.

Click here for a pdf copy or here to find out more about the HUB

 

IMG_1745Part-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.

 

Wigtown general photos 040The recent Let’s Talk Shop programme in Wigtown revealed far more retail depth within many of the businesses than was expected from first impressions.

From bookshops that are cafes – to cafes that sell books; gift shops with galleries to an engravers selling gifts – and all within a town setting enhanced by the very attractive and imposing County Building overlooking a well tended central pocket park set between the two main streets.

As Scotland’s National Book Town there may not be quite as many book shops as there once were but there is little doubt that the town offers a wealth of intriguing independent an knowledgeable businesses where books undoubtedly dominate the retail offer.

Shop Doctor Recommendations Reports have been provided for each of the eight participating businesses and it is hoped that implementation of just some of the recommendations will help to make visiting the businesses, and the town, an even more engaging experience.

 

nationalbooktown1611Wigtown will be the next town to participate in the Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme facilitated by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

A Retail Masterclass on the evening of Monday 21st July will be followed by one-to-one advisory visits from The Shop Doctor on subsequent days.

Up to 12 retailers in the town will be eligible for visits and each will be able to apply for a grant of up to £500 towards the implementation of recommendations made during the visits and within the comprehensive reports provided to each of the participating businesses.

Since the support programme commenced, over 150 independent retailers across Dumfries, Annan, Stranraer, Lockerbie, Gretna, Dalbeattie, Langholm, Thornhill, Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas have been involved.

A further 68 retailers will be engaged in the scheme during the remainder of the current programme.

To register for the ‘Let’s Talk Shop’ Masterclass, contact the Council on 030 33 33 3000 and ask for Stephanie Carrick in Economic Development or e-mail stephanie.carrick@dumgal.gov.uk

For further information on the Let’s Talk Shop Programme overall, contact Grant Coltart, Economic Development Officer, Planning & Environment Services Department on 01387 260327 or e-mail grant.coltart@dumgal.gov.uk

IMG_9208Following a recent request for advice our Shop Doctor was pleased to meet with the committee responsible for running this small community shop based in an outbuilding of the Derby Arms Pub in Witherslack , Cumbria.

The committee was last advised when the shop was near to opening its doors in 2008 and, since then, although the business has seen growth some seasonal ebbing and flowing in relation to meeting local need has not yet enabled the shop to achieve its potential.

The dedicated committee of volunteers now feels that a sales plateau has been reached and have been keen to seek ways to further develop the business, hence their call to Let’s Talk Shop.

After spending some time meeting with the committee and reviewing the shop a short recommendations report has been provided identifying a list of opportunities that should help the business to develop even further. In addition it is hoped that the all involved in running the shop have been motivated by the visit and will be able to assess potential opportunities from a different perspective.

The shop is operated as an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.

IMG_9394Following a masterclass presentation on Monday 23 June, twelve independent retailers in the town benefited from a one-to-one advisory visit from The Shop Doctor. As in other towns already visited across Dumfries & Galloway, each received bespoke advice at the time of the visit and will receive a unique recommendations report highlighting individual opportunities to improve business vitality.

The exercise is not to criticise, but to identify ways to make good businesses even better. The Shop Doctor said “Castle Douglas is a very active town, but like so many others, is desperate to maintain and attract customers against the challenges that other retail channels now offer.  Fortunately, the town already has a very strong and diverse retail offering and it is hoped that the strength of the existing retailers will help ensure that the vibrancy of the town continues to attract new businesses and new customers.

Each of the shops receiving a report are able to apply for a £500 grant from Dumfries & Galloway Council towards implementing (some of) the recommendations.

In July, The Shop Doctor moves his attention to Wigtown where a similar support programme will be delivered.

image (12)At a recent training day attended by staff from the majority of the ten retail outlets operated by the Bethany Christian Trust in and around Edinburgh, The Shop Doctor delivered an insight into key elements that help maximise retail development within a charity retail environment.

Subjects covered included improving first impressions, window display, accessibility, internal layout, effective merchandising and the provision of good customer service.

One of the major challenges facing many charity retailers is the ability not just to attract customers, but to attract those willing to donate products suitable for onward sale.

Presenting the right image to the right customer base is critical in helping achieve both these objectives.