Tinsel town!

INDEPENDENT shopkeepers in Gainsborough are working together this Christmas to bring trade back into town.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th November 2011, 7:00 am

The Independent Retailer’s Group has met twice since forming in September and they have lots of ideas to improve town as a shopping destination.

They include free car parking, creative window displays, better signage and a variety of market days.

“Trade has dwindled the last few years due to a number of factors,” said Dawn Barron, from Barron Bou fashion boutique on Lord Street.

“Marshall’s Yard has hit the town centre shops hard, as well as a lack of free parking.”

That is a view shared by many business owners in the consortium, which already has around 20 members.

John Horsley, of Horsley’s department store on Church Street has campaigned to get more free parking in the town centre, but to no avail.

“We’re now looking at other things we can do to bring shoppers in,” he said.

“I would like to see different types of markets, farmers or flea markets perhaps.”

Other ideas include flower and water features to make the town look more attractive.

“I think it’s a really positive move for us shopkeepers to unite for the good of the town,” said Sarah Cranmer from All Seasons Florist in White Lion Yard.

“We have been thinking about ways we can team up on special offers and point shoppers in the direction of other town centre shops for the things they need.”

Dawn added: “It’s cheaper coming to shop in Gainsborough than any of the outlying villages. People should come here more often.”

Helen Barker from the Dog House on Church Street said Gainsborough needed to avoid becoming a replica of every other town with its identical high street chain stores.

“People often go to other tows and think ‘these shops are all the same’ but we’re different here in Gainsborough. We are unique.”

“You can get great personal customer service in our independent shops, and they offer something different to the high street.”

Matthew Lonsdale from Emmaloos Café on Market Street said he is planning to open later in the evenings to make his business pay.

“Closing at 5pm seems like we’re losing time in the evenings,” he said.

“We’re thinking of perhaps trying tapas in the evenings - I don’t mind working a few more hours if it’s worth it.” So far, the consortium has produced a map showing the location of town centre businesses.

It has been placed in all their windows to signpost the shoppers who come in. Dawn said: “Our meetings have already produced some really good ideas. We hope to bring a vibrancy to the town that has been lacking for too long and get shoppers back here rather than Marshall’s Yard or Meadowhall.”

A website and Facebook pages will soon be launched to publicise special offers and what the group is doing.