A campaign to improve a Wellingborough town centre street undergoing a revival has been launched to coincide with a retail awareness campaign.
Cambridge Street has previously been dogged by declining trade and closing shops, but is now enjoying a resurgence with three new businesses having opened their doors since July and another two on the way – to leave only two empty premises.
The Wellingborough Business Improvement District (BID), which works to boost the town centre, has commissioned retail consultant Corin Birchall, from Kerching Retail, to work with traders to further improve the street’s prospects.
The move comes as small firms from across the country are celebrated during Small Business Saturday, which takes place on Saturday, December 7.
Shoppers are invited to take part in a treasure hunt on the day to spot the black dots in Cambridge Street shop windows to coincide with The Castle’s Hundred and One Dalmatians festive production.
The BID has teamed up with the theatre to promote the panto alongside its Christmas scratch card promotion offering 101 prizes.
BID manager John Cable said: “There is a genuine resurgence going on at the moment in Cambridge Street with new businesses moving in and existing shops making an extra effort.
“The street boasts a selection of independent retailers offering value, expertise and excellent customer service – this drive to improve the street will make it an even more desirable destination for shoppers.”
Mr Birchall, who has worked with leading retail names including Harrods as well as hundreds of independent shops, has carried out a ‘secret shopper’ exercise and fed back useful tips to improve shopping experiences.
He said: “We had some of the highest scores for staff friendliness to date from the secret shopper project. The message is clear,’ if you give these businesses a chance, they will do everything they can to help you’.”
The retail expert is also working with traders to launch a discount voucher scheme specifically for shops in the street, which is due to be ready in early December.
Ria Chambers, who runs Ria’s Rosy Lee Tea Room, one of the new businesses, said: “I have enjoyed a busy time with plenty of bookings and passing trade.”
Gerry Adkins runs Adkins, a bike shop and workshop which is the oldest store in the street. He said: “My family has had the shop for 90 years and we’ve seen some highs and lows but it’s booming again.
“It’s lovely to see new shops opening.”
To take part in the treasure hunt visit www.discoverwellingborough.co.uk.