As Sleaford enjoys a host of new and expanded independent stores, Sleaford Town Team is applauding local entrepreneurs for their efforts in maintaining and growing the town’s shopping scene.
In recent weeks, Sleaford has seen a new retailer, Dee’s Gifts, and Little White House – a haberdashery also offering craft workshops – open their doors in the Riverside Precinct and Navigation Yard.
In addition to this, one of Sleaford’s freshest retailers, Beatty-May Vintage, has relocated from Westgate to a bigger store in Navigation Yard, and established shop, WiseGuys Menswear, has opened a second unit in the Market Place to complement its existing Westgate store.
“This is an exciting period for Sleaford,” says Clare Rayner, retail expert and chairman of the Town Team. “At a time when major retailers are pulling out of market towns across the country, and with regeneration plans for Sleaford in particular being postponed or cancelled, these independent retailers are really pulling out all the stops to show that Sleaford is getting bigger and better.
“More than this, they’re proving that development is possible with or without the help of corporate giants.”
The Town Team’s research has already shown that Sleaford’s vacancy rate is around four per cent, far below the national average of 13.3 per cent. The town is also lucky enough to be primarily comprised of independent retailers – a sector that is continuing to grow at a time when major stores are leaving high streets in favour of out-of-town locations and retail parks.
Clare continues: “Whilst many local people might wish that Sleaford had more chain stores, the national trends indicate that this is unlikely to happen. Instead, it’s our independent entrepreneurs that are sticking their necks out, knowing the local consumers, and providing great shopping experiences.”
Sleaford Town Team is already exploring several ideas to celebrate Independent Retailer Month in July. These include an evening farmers and craft market and hopefully a daytime teenage market too. They are also confirming plans to run a Celebration of Lincolnshire on July 5.
Eddie Jenkins, local business owner and the Town Team’s action group leader for town centre events, comments: “Although these plans are not set in stone yet, we already have the cogs in motion for plenty of activities to get people into the town centre. It’s important that local people support all of Sleaford’s businesses, from the shops and market stalls to the pubs and restaurants.”
To keep track of Sleaford Town Team’s plans for the town, check for updates on the Sleaford Town Team Facebook page or on its website, www.sleafordtownteam.co.uk.