Lets Talk Shop

The ever increasing presence of professional services providers on our high streets can materially affect the visual ambiance of the trading environment in which they operate.

When contemplating establishing such a business on the high street care needs to be taken to ensure that the visual impact created by the business compliments the trading environment rather than conflicting with it.

Existing providers could often do with taking a regular look outside as first impressions really do play an important role in attracting or detracting customer or clients interest and all too often the impact is less than effective.

Whether a solicitor or accountant, doctor or dentist making sure that those important first impressions impact favourably on your clients can materially affect the onward vibrancy of your business.

Let’s Talk Shop can help you make the right decisions, from the name on the fascia to the colour and presentaion of the ‘shopfront’ , the effectiveness of window displays to getting clients through the door and, once they are in, making sure they feel comfortable.

Recent Shop Doctor visits to retailers in urban areas of Carlisle have identified some interesting challenges facing the diverse range of businesses enrolled in the present support initiative funded by Carlisle City Council.

The area maintains an abundance of small local shops, some newer than others, and the loyalty of many of the local community has been very much in evidence during the shop visits.

Ensuring that the shops continue to meet the needs of the local community whilst maximising their business vitality is however an ongoing challenge for the operators and the Shop Doctor Surgeries will help identify opportunities to help build upon the existing success of those taking part.

To date 14 businesses across Harraby, Upperby and Currock have confirmed their interest in participating in the Let’s Talk Shop “Shop Doctor” Support Programme. The initiative is totally funded by Carlisle City Council who recognise the importance of shops serving local communities and who are actively demonstrating this by supporting  and promoting the programme.

Those confirming participation include a Sandwich Bar, a Butchers; Florist; Post Office; Newsagents; Greengrocers;  Bakers and a Greeting Cards Shop and present an interesting cross section of the business serving the local community in the areas concerned.


1st July has seen the adoption of our new logo developed for us by Cypher Digital in Milnthorpe.

The refreshing style reflects our commitment to the high street and our role advising, motivating, mentoring and supporting to the needs of the independent retail sector.

Working either directly with private clients or reaching greater sections of the retail community through business or economic development initiatives being delivered thorough  local councils we develop and deliver bespoke programmes individually orienated toward meeting the need of the particular trading environment or retail sector involved.

The latest round of Shop Doctor in store surgeries will be taking place in three areas of urban Carlisle in the near future.

Up to 16 businesses across Currock, Upperby and Harraby will be receiving visits from The Shop Doctor in this latest round of business support specifically targeted at assisting the independent retail sector.

The work  has been commissioned by Carlisle City Council and follows previous support delivered to retailers in Brampton, Longtown and Dalston.

The asistance will be provided on a first come first served basis and retailers within the nominated areas are urged to make contact to arrange a visit without delay.

Visits can be arranged directly with the Shop Doctor via 015394 40020 or email bill@sldt.co.uk.

Alternatively contact Chris Pearson, Carlisle City Council Economic Development Manager on 01228 817015 or email christopherp@carlisle.gov.uk

Boost your Business information

The Shop Doctor visited Congleton and Macclesfield Visitor Information Centres on Wednesday 15th June to assess opportunities to help improve commerciality and retail performance.

With increasing pressure on the available levels of public sector funding support required to sustain information provision it is essential that routes be found to make such Centres more commercially orientated, but in a manner that does not compromise information delivery.

In South Lakeland TIC provision is no longer generally provided by the local authority with management recently being passed to a disparate range of operators including the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce in Kendal, Lakes Hospitality Association in Windermere, and over the last three years by a private operator in Ambleside where TIC service is succesfully delivered through The Hub within the combined Post Office/TIC/Gift Shop

Between the 1st and 3rd June the Shop Doctor visited a further 6 high street business based in Middlewich, 2 in Crewe and 1 in Nantwich Cheshire to identify solutions to help reinvigorate trading vitality.

In addition to the in store advice received from the Shop Doctor during each of the surgery visits each business will receive a written prescriptions report summarising observations made during the visit and recommendations as to how cost effective improvements might be enabled.

This latest programme of support activity is funded by Middlewich Town Council and Cheshire East Council.