Businesses are still planning how they will make changes to their businesses once restrictions are lifted on 19th July. Whilst the details remain unconfirmed, there are differences across the business community on the use of face coverings, one-way systems and other elements previously mandated under Covid-secure guidance.
With one month to go until the 3rd Stroud Fiver Fest, 56 independent businesses have already confirmed their participation. This equals the number of participants in the February event and looks set to be amongst the highest level of participation in the National Fiver Fest.
Only open to independent businesses with a physical presence, Stroud Fiver Fest has a powerful message - If every adult in Stroud spent just £5 per week in independent shops and businesses, instead of online or at the big supermarkets or chains, it would be worth an extra £4.5million per year going into the local Stroud economy. When you spend money locally it helps create local jobs, creates a better high street, makes for a stronger local economy and bolsters the local community too. Where you spend money matters.
Details of the Stroud Fiver Fest, including the can be found here.
As the primary marketing deadline passes (where registered participants can appear on the map and in the "around our town" poster) an amazing 53 independent businesses have registered and submitted their £5 offer for the Stroud Fiver Fest. This Fiver Fest is set to break records, with the National Fiver Fest attracting 100 towns across the UK, including our neighbours in Stonehouse and Dursley.
Tony Davey, Chair of Stroud Chamber of Trade (who are administering Stroud Fiver Fest) commented "That we have 53 independent businesses in Stroud working together for the second Stroud Fiver Fest is amazing. If every adult in Stroud spent just £5 per week in independent shops and businesses, instead of online or at the big supermarkets, it would be worth an extra £4.5million per year going into the local Stroud economy. By these great Stroud businesses working together, there's a business for every week of the year taking part. When we spend money locally it helps create local jobs, creates a better high street, makes for a stronger local economy and bolsters the local community too."
The next step for Stroud Fiver Fest is to create the "around our town" posters. These will be published through social media and introduce the offers available from participating businesses. Just ahead of the start of Stroud Fiver Fest (on Saturday 15th February) the Stroud Fiver Fest Map will be published. This was very popular last year and families took up the challenge of finding every business numbered on the map - this February that's 53, so more to find than the 35 last October.
Since the above was published on Sunday evening, we have also welcomed Summerbee's, Made in Stroud, Fortune Faeries and Wheatley Printers.We are also very fortunate to have WSP Solicitors or Stroud as our lead sponsor for the February 2020 Fiver Fest.
Local businesses are keen to get on board with Stroud Fiver Fest, highlighting the benefits that shopping local and doing business locally can have on the local economy.
Working with Totally Locally, Stroud Fiver Fest is one of almost 60 Fiver Fests taking place across the UK between 5th and 12th October.
If every adult in Stroud spent just £5 per week in their local independent shops and business, instead of online or at a big supermarket, it would mean an extra £4.5 million per year going into our local economy. Which means more jobs, a better high street, a stronger economy and a nicer place to live. It makes you think, doesn't it?!
Stroud Fiver Fest is being administered by Stroud Chamber of Trade for any qualifying business in the Stroud area. Tony Davey, Chair, commented "The last National Fiver Fest was a huge success, with 41 towns and thousands of independent shops getting involved, and this time even more are joining in."
"We decided to join in with those other towns across the UK that ran the Fiver Fest last June, as it seems such a great idea for Stroud. We have a vibrant independent business community in Stroud and this gives us an ideal opportunity to showcase our businesses and offer some great deals to the people of Stroud, customers old and new."
Stroud Chamber of Trade has published the results of the "100 Voices" Parking Survey, which contains some interesting results.
The target of 100 voices was hit in only hours, so popular is this topic in our town. The Chamber extended the reach to 150 and the results were very interesting indeed.
Church Street Car Park, whilst being one of the two most expensive in town, was the most popular because of its location. Brunel Mall Multi-storey Car Park came in a close second, in part because it is free to use after 3pm, yet also made it into second place for the least liked.
The poor repair of the cycle track between Stroud and Nailsworth means people prefer not to use it, and feeling unsafe on the public highway also discourages people from cycling into town altogether.
The price of using the bus, plus wide reports of unreliable services, make using the bus unattractive - the report found.
To learn more, please read the full report here.
Wednesday 22 May 2019
Graffiti in Stroud town centre has been a concern for some time, with a significant increase in incidents in the last few days. Stroud News and Journal contacted us for comment.
You will find the Stroud News and Journal article here.
It is without doubt that vandalism and graffiti cause concern to those who use our town, be they visitors or those who work and live here. Further, graffiti tends to attract more graffiti and vandalism, which brings the image of the town down. Repairs come at significant cost to us, too - costs that may be borne by the council (so likely paid for through our taxes) or borne by the person who owns the property that is damaged.
See It Photo It Report ItThe subject of graffiti and vandalism, and the impact on our town, were discussed at the recent Local Policing and Security in Stroud event (read details here) hosted by the Stroud Chamber of Trade. The clear message from PC Ian Tucker was to report such antisocial behaviour and, in the case of graffiti, take a photograph of graffiti and email it in before you attempt to remove or cover it. The are several important impacts of reporting such crimes - 1) it makes sure there is a clear picture to enable the appropriate deployment of Police resource to problem areas and 2) it helps build a body of evidence that could be used in future action and prosecution.
Wednesday 27 Mar 2019
Following the news that another long-established retailer has closed in Stroud, The Citizen contacted us to ask our views on the uncertainty Brexit is having on our high streets, and the impact of the Internet on local business.
Many learned of the sad closure of Eclipse in the High Street, Stroud via the article covered in Stroud News and Journal here.
Our Chair was contacted for comment by The Citizen, following the statement, from Sid Copp, that Brexit uncertainty and competition from the Internet.
"We can't comment on the specific case of Eclipse, which is undoubtedly sad news for them and their customers. The reasons they've stated are all too common, unfortunately. Regardless of your views on Brexit, it's hard to believe the current uncertainty is it is not having a negative impact on our local businesses that rely on consumer trade. Whenever there is a budget or an election, footfall and buying can be negatively impacted. Different businesses feel it to differing extents, but this prolonged uncertainty is being reported by many as being felt in the tills - like an election that lasts week upon week.
With regard to the Internet as a threat, this is a theme we addressed only last week in our workshop "Taking your place on the Internet". It's essential for the survival of many businesses (retail or services) to take your place online - without it you can't compete. There is a myth that being a local ( perhaps smaller) business you cannot compete with the bigger players, but in many cases I believe that simply is not the case. There are studies that clearly indicate having an online shop or similar presence increases footfall. There are too many businesses who neglect their social media, which leads to low engagement from their customers. Being a smaller town there are often unfounded rumours circulating about one shop or another closing; sometimes a quick check of their Facebook page, where there may have been no posts for weeks (sometimes longer), does nothing to dispel that. Again, I can't comment on the online offerings Eclipse had, but I do know you cannot compete with the Internet if you do not have a good presence on it. It's also important not to cut profit to try to compete with the discounters - that's just a race to the bottom where no-one wins and we've seen many of these discounters struggle too.
I echo Sid's words it is vital local shoppers continue to shop locally and support local businesses. We have a great diversity of shops and businesses within Stroud, many of which some visitors are yet to discover! We urge those who are local to Stroud to shop locally, and not just on Farmers Market days, to utilise the Free-after-three parking in the Brunel Multi-storey, and to keep our local economy alive."
Further to this, there has been evidence that many people who live locally to Stroud do not know the breadth of shops and services that are available within the town. This is the reason why the Chamber created the InStroud Facebook page, which has proven to positively inform its followers of new businesses and new products that Stroud has to offer. Unfortunately many traders have been slow to engage with this free initiative, but many who have report positive impacts from it - and the statistics show our message is being heard.
Friday 1 Mar 2019
Just three months have passed since publishing our focus survey and your Chamber of Trade committee has been busy working to address the issues that businesses in Stroud have raised.
Your Chamber has continued to work hard to ensure the voice of business is heard, understood and valued. We have met and worked with local authorities, the Police, the Media and business leaders. We have engaged the public to raise awareness of the diversity of businesses that Stroud has to offer and to raise footfall. We have sought steps to tackle the concerns of local businesses and put in place initiatives that are not just short-term, fix term funded, solutions.
Thursday 21 Feb 2019
Once again a Charity has been criticised for the way those representing them have been fundraising in our town. Read the full article from the Stroud News and Journal here.
On this occasion, Stroud News and Journal did not approach us for comment. However, prior to their article (following reports to the Committee from its members) the Stroud Chamber of Trade had already initiated steps to help bring more balance.
The Stroud Chamber of Trade are seeking a longer term solution to balance the needs of charities and all those who visit Stroud for Business or Pleasure. This process has already started, with a positive dialogue between the Chamber and the Institute of Fundraising, with a view to initiating a Site Management Agreement. Such agreements help balance fundraising activities in terms of days, frequency and numbers of Fundraisers - so also making it fairer for those who fundraise responsibly in our town. Fundraising and charities play an important and valuable role in our society, and we all seek to ensure their reputations are not tarnished by allowing poor fundraising practices.
The Chamber also seeks to open communications with Local Authorities to help implement this in agreement and collaboration - this supports our objectives of making Stroud better together.
More information can be found at www.stroudchamber.org.uk/resources
Wednesday 16 Jan 2019
The InStroud Facebook page has been launched today; the first vehicle in a programme to raise awareness of businesses within Stroud and promote Stroud Town in general. Its aim is to promote, through regular posts, shops and businesses that want to showcase new goods or services; promote sales, offers and other promotions; share information about events for their customers and potential customers; and raise awareness of the wide range of products and services across the town.
You can learn more about InStroud here.
Tuesday 15 Jan 2019
Mon 17 Dec 2018
We were asked by Stroud News and Journal to comment on the opening of Aldi outside Stroud and regarding the concerns, raised at planning stage, that it might have an unfavourable impact on Stroud's High Street.
We responded: "Bringing employment to the area and additional choice is welcome. It's unfortunate that the site is so far away from town centres and Stroud is in need of a supermarket offering in the town for those who live and work there. It would be great to see such a retailer open a town-sized supermarket to bring more diversity into our town centre, which in turn is likely to bring more trade to the other great retailers who are in town."
Wed 12 Dec 2018
Stroud News and Journal covers the results of the Stroud Chamber of Trade survey. Raising awareness of the concerns of Stroud businesses is important and we're committed to working with agencies and businesses to drive improvement. Read the article here.
Wed 05 Dec 2018
Stroud Chamber of Trade publishes its 2018 Focus Survey.
Tue 04 Dec 2018
We have launched our new, online identity. This site reaches out to the businesses in our district to provide them with valuable resources and information.