Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Retail rendezvous

Recently I attended a meeting with the Town Centre Manager, Richard Mckenzie, and traders in Conway Street, to explore ways of promoting their street as a shopping destination. Thanks to the improvements carried out in this street over the years it's become much easier for people to walk up and down it, particularly if they are users of the bus station at Liberty Wharf. But for the retailers and other businesses in Conway Street the question is how to get busy people to pause long enough to see what is on offer in the shop windows? Altogether it was a positive meeting, followed by a walk down the street to see what practical measures the public sector could take to improve things, and what the shops themselves could do too, of course.

The same week we met with traders in Colomberie who have finalised the new banners they were given responsibility for designing, and the concept of Colomberie Shopping Village was officially launched. Similar groups are operating in Don Street and Wests Centre, and the Parish is eager to see other businesses getting together so that together we can raise the profile of these distinct shopping districts in town. St Helier is, after all, much more than a single shopping precinct, with a wealth of small shops, cafes and restaurants off the beaten track. If you would like parish support in developing a trader group please get in touch with me or the Town Centre Manager.

Meanwhile the newly formed 'Town Team' continues to work on practical steps that need to be taken to ensure the town is vibrant, attractive, and accessible. In particular, there are calls from traders for shopper parking to be made 'free after 3' and for free shopper parking on Saturdays. I will be asking the States to trial these ideas in the coming year. After all, we subsidise the Island's other industries in various ways, so why not make shopper parking easier and cheaper for the sake of our retail and hospitality sectors?