professional services

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.

Windermere Business Centre has been providing managed office space in the heart of Windermere for almost 20 years in addition to a variety of other business ventures.

Following recent developments in the management of this family owned business a major programme of investment is now underway. Ground floor space is being transformed to create a new reception area, a break out/business lounge, meeting space, hot desk provision and three separate areas of bespoke office accommodation providing 660, 720 and over 1000sq ft of modern managed office space.

Once home of Atkinsons Cake Factory, and dating back to the early 1900’s, some of the industrial heritage of the building is being  recaptured in the refurbishment which, once completed, will enable a wider cross section of local business needs to be accommodated than has previously been possible.

Having been associated with the Business Centre for over a decade, and based within it for a number of years prior to establishing Let’s Talk Shop, it is pleasing that Lets Talk Shop Ltd has now been contracted to assist in the management of the Centre going forward and helping to drive development of the opportunities that it will provide for small to medium enterprise development in South Lakeland.

Watch this space for more news of this exciting development.

First floor space of 394 sq ft has recently become available – if you would like more details please email me  on bill@sldt.co.uk or telephone 015394 40020

 

sldcExcellent evening with the team from  Invest in South Lakeland at their Business Event at The Low Wood Hotel in Windermere last night with fellow speakers Nick Comer, Rosetta Brands Ltd and Justin Grammer, PS Business Matters.

Thought provoking and entertaining insight into the effective use of the ever changing world of Social Media from Justin and always  enlightening to hear the story of the online development of Rosetta Brands.

Justin Grammer
Justin Grammer
Nick Comer
Nick Comer

 

and me!
Bill Smith

It cannot be easy to see your business devastated by flood water,  and undoubtedly heartbreaking to see the business you have worked so hard to develop  washed away through no fault of your own.

With an understandable desire to get the business back into operation as quickly as possible there is often limited time available to consider whether or not changes to the internal layout of the shop might deliver new business opportunities.

But if you are starting again with a relatively blank canvas do not rush  to reinstate what was there before. An opportunity exists to address layout issues that might have previously impacted negatively on the way customers  ‘shopped the shop’ . Careful placement of replacement shelving might help alter the way  customers circulate; identifying and maximising the impact of new selling hot-spots can help generate additional sales and improving merchandising techniques is easier when you are having to stock the shelves from scratch.

It might even be practical to relocate the counter, just because things have always been in a certain position does not mean that they are in the best position for your business in the future.

Identifying new opportunities, on top of everything else required to get the business up and running again, might deliver some challenges, but it is time that could be well spent.

We would be only too happy to discuss with you how our extensive expertise could help ensure that opportunities are not missed and help identify the silver lining available for your business in the future

The following information has been supplied via South Lakeland District Council.  More general information can be found on the SLDC website link:  www.investinsouthlakeland.co.uk/news/article/590/December-Floods-Information/

SLDC Business Rates – All premises are exempt for 3 months if empty. Industrial premises receive up to 6 months if they become empty. We would only be seeking to confirm whether the flooding had affected the whole premises and preventing any trade from the site. Consideration will be given, where appropriate, to extend these periods via means of a local scheme which is awaiting approval, specific to the flooding. Contact SLDC Taxation Team 01539 793245 or counciltax@southlakeland.gov.uk

Time To Pay – This scheme allows affected businesses additional time to pay taxes to HMRC, including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax. For further details contact the HMRC hotline on 0800 904 7900, set up for those who have been affected by flooding and may have difficulties in meeting their tax liabilities. To apply to the Time To Pay Scheme call 0300 200 3835 and discuss with an adviser.

Federation of Small Businesses For Members: for insurance related issues, irrespective of being a policy-holder, contact FSB Insurance on 0345 762 6158. Contact the Legal Advice Line on 03450 727 727 for any legal aspects to the flood and clean-up. The legal documents section of the website also has useful support (log-in required) www.fsb.org.uk For Non- Members: call FSB Insurance Advice Line on 03450 727 727 and speak to Steve Dawson. For employment support: contact Brian Harrison on brian@bandmharrison.co.uk or 01539 730382 For practical support: contact Paul Foster on paul.foster@fsb.org.uk or 07917 628909.
Cumbria Tourism – Working with FSB to ensure the impact of the tourism sector is fully captured, and assisted with Government financial support. Please complete it here: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=144948183547
Helpful guidance and updates on the floods are here www.cumbriatourism.org/home/december-floods-guidance. A helpline is available for affected businesses, contact 01539 822222 or info@cumbriatourism.org

United Utilities – Water bills are being suspended for customers who have been forced from their premises, businesses should contact 0345 072 6072. Customers will need to supply a temporary address along with the flooded address. For any water or wastewater issues, call 0345 6723 723. www.unitedutilities.com/emergencies-incidents.aspx corporate.unitedutilities.com/news-media.aspx
Electricity North West – Emergency Contact 0800 195 4141 or email enquiries@enwl.co.uk, tweet @ElectricityNW
Cumbria County Council – contact 01228 606060

(more…)

The Rural Shops Alliance is becoming aware that current Rural Shop owners wishing to refurbish or expand their business and those looking to purchase a rural shop are finding it increasingly difficult to secure loans and mortgages from banks and other providers.

They would like to hear from anyone who has been refused a loan or mortgage or had any other similar problems, particularly if a specific reason for refusal of the loan or mortgage has been given.

Please contact Gary Hepburn at the RSA via: gary.hepburn@ruralshops.org.uk

For more information about the Rural Shops Alliance click here

Screenshot_2015-11-24-11-09-46 (2)The British Retail Consortium and  The Food and Drink Federation have released a guidance document advising retailers, producers and authorities on how to make a ‘free-from’ claim on a product in order to regulate free-from allergen claims on food and drink packaging.

Currently there are no specific rules at either UK or EU level governing the use of ‘free-from’. This guidance will help business operators know when and how to label and also provides an overview of relevant UK and EU legislation. It will also give help with the key things to be  considered with regard to appropriate manufacturing practices and also when carrying out a risk assessment.

The guidance can be viewed here

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.

Shop Doctor  Lets Talk Shop Dumfries Galloway

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.

IMG_4757

 

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.

retail revitalisation, store survival

Aspatria Farmers Ltd is an agricultural co-operative formed in 1870 by a group of West Cumbrian farmers who were disillusioned with the quality of products they were being supplied and the service they received from the local agricultural suppliers in business at that time.

Since then they have diversified their product range into a number of sectors including domestic pet and equestrian supplies, household products, gardening, clothing (leisure, workwear, equestrian), footwear and amenity products (for use on golf courses, forestry, football pitches, industrial sites, etc).

What is not as well recognised as it might be is that Aspatria Farmers is open to the general public and that the values of “quality, service, price” established in 1870 continue to be upheld.

Change is in hand at Aspatria Farmers and our Shop Doctor will be working with them to help ensure that they successfully continue to meet the needs of their membership whilst maximising their retail store opportunities and reaching out to a wider customer base.