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.
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.
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.
Let’s Talk Shop Retailer Support Programmes are to be delivered in up to 8 more Scottish towns over the next 12 months.
Recent contracts awarded by Dumfries & Galloway Council and East Lothian Council will see our Shop Doctor advising up to a further 98 independent retailers and building upon support programmes commenced in Scotland in 2013.
To date, Shop Doctor support has been delivered across 16 Scottish towns to 195 retailers. In addition to the valuable support provided directly to retailers, visiting the towns provides Let’s Talk Shop Ltd with a unique insight and understanding of issues that impact on the towns themselves.
Our Shop Doctor Bill Smith says “Being able to spend time in such a diverse range of towns, meeting with the independent businesses that help create their unique identity and with the customers that use them has helped develop a deep understanding of what helps create and sustain a vibrant town” he went on to comment “The onward challenge is to find a way of building on those opportunities to help enhance and build the economic vibrancy of the towns and the independent shops within them.”
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.”
A further 70 independent retailers across 5 more towns in Dumfries & Galloway will now be receiving assistance from The Shop Doctor.
Following the success of the recent Shop Doctor Programmes delivered by Let’s Talk Shop Ltd in Dumfries, Annan, Stranraer, Gretna and Lockerbie the scheme has now been extended to provide support to shops in Dalbeattie, Thornhill, Langholm, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart.
Let’s Talk Shop Ltd was successful in securing the contract for onward delivery of the programme which will take the number of shops now receiving Shop Doctor support in Dumfries & Galloway to 140.
Similar recent programmes in Argyll & Bute and East Lothian increase the number of independent shops involved with The Shop Doctor in Scotland alone to 160.
Successful tenders recently submitted by Lets Talk Shop Ltd to East Lothian Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council and Argyll & Bute Council will shortly see independent retailers in Dunbar, Haddington, North Berwick, Lockerbie, Gretna and Rothesay participating in Shop Doctor Support Programmes.
This will increase the number of Scottish towns benefiting from the bespoke advice provided to independent retailers within them to nine with over 100 individual businesses receiving one-to-one advice and in excess of that number of delegates participating in the associated retail/merchandising workshops.
The visit to Rothesay, Isle of Bute is on behalf of the Rothesay Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), a £2.6 million project currently coming toward the end of year two of a five year delivery phase. The THI project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Leader and Argyll & Bute Council.