The Chippenham Business Improvement District is calling on residents and visitors to make a special effort to support the town’s independent retailers during July and Independent Retailer Month. Nearly half of the town’s stores (46%) are independently owned.
Carolyn Brownell, Manager of Chippenham BID said: “It is important not only to celebrate and support our town’s ‘indies’, but to also recognise their importance to the future growth and success of Chippenham. Indies are just as important in attracting footfall as the chain stores as they give the town centre variety, colour and choice, and this, when balanced with the big brand familiarity of chain stores, is what attracts visitors and shoppers from the surrounding region. It is crucially important that we have a healthy balance between independents that offer variety, and chain stores that offer familiarity and reassurance. Towns and cities centre that have an imbalance do not thrive. If they don’t have enough indies they suffer from becoming ‘Clone Towns’ and fail to attract inward visitors.
“Here in the south west of England we are fortunate that we have a very healthy independent retail community. According to latest figures from The Local Data Company and the British Independent Retailers Association the region is experiencing the greatest increase in the number of independents of all regions across the UK. We need to support that growth.
“We also have half the national average of vacant shop units. These are great statistics on which the Chippenham BID and the town can build. But we must not forget that retail remains a challenging environment, so it is crucial that we continue to support all of the town’s retailers.”
Sarah Jayne from SJ’s Cafe said “As a locally owned business, it is crucial that we can rely on the support of the Chippenham people to help us survive. But in order for the town’s independents to thrive, we need to attract more shoppers into the town. The Chippenham BID has laid out a vision and a plan to make the town more attractive to outside visitors, and this can only help us. These are exciting times for the town and its retailers, and we are now perfectly placed to reap the rewards of a positive transformation.”
Pictured above from left to right: Faye Matthewman, Keiran Mulvaney, Michelle Donelan, Sarah-Jayne Puntis, John Paine and Melody Thompson