Optimistic: Peter Swallow
Independent shops are showing the way in difficult times, writes Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Sheffield
It is the shortest month of the year and it may be horribly grey outside, but don’t be deceived – Chesterfield’s future is bright. This month, te spotlight is on the town’s retail sector. Nominations for the 2018 Chesterfield Retail Awards are now open.
Now in their fifth year, the Chesterfield Retail Awards are the perfect way to celebrate our town’s booming retail scene, and it’s up to you as shoppers to nominate retailers that deserve the recognition that a nomination and potential win these coveted awards can bring.
All too often we hear how the UK’s high streets are struggling. It’s tempting to look at empty shops in our town centre and think that it’s the same story in Chesterfield, but it’s not.
Our abundance of both independent retailers and big high street names, alongside the historic market, means that retail in Chesterfield is unlike most towns in the UK. Last year we attracted new retailers to the town centre – Deichmann, TJ Hughes Patisserie Valerie and Trespass as well as new independents.
The independent sector is thriving and there are many success stories. Adorn Jewellers for instance, opened in the Shambles five years ago and in 2017 opened a second store in Bakewell. Geeks Headquarters tells a similar story. It started off on the market before moving to shop premises on Rose Hill.
This year we will see the regeneration of the upper end of the town centre where work has begun on transforming the former Co-op into a hotel and restaurants. More development will happen here with the creation of Northern Gateway which will all serve to feed crucial footfall into the town centre and ensure it not only survives but thrives.
The Chesterfield Retail Awards aren’t just about town centre businesses, they’re about every single retailer – whether they are a shop, salon, bakery, market stall or crafter – that operates within S40 and 41.
There is a huge retail offering outside the town centre. Areas like Chatsworth Road and Whittington Moor are lined with shops and stores, but I urge you to look behind these and down the side streets to uncover the unsung heroes of retail.
So, my message this month is to not only nominate in the 2018 Retail Awards at www.chesterfield.co.uk, but also to support our local businesses with your custom. Take a break from online shopping and get to know what’s on your doorstep. I think you’ll be surprised.