Independents Week is returning for the ninth time. Bury St Edmunds’s business improvement district has again organised the event to promote the unique and smaller shops that put the town on the map.
What is it?
Stores are set to offer promotions, offers and hold celebrations.
The business improvement district is heavily promoting independent retailers with publicity and on social media. Our Bury St Edmunds, the managers of the business improvement district, is hosting a special page on its website to champion what businesses are doing. There will also be reusable bags given away.
Who is involved?
You will struggle to miss Tony Appleton. The town crier is famous in the town for announcing royal births, but on Wednesday (July 3) he will be turning his attention to Bury’s shops.
Also on Wednesday, local radio station RWSfm will be broadcasting from recently-opened The Tavern in St Johns Street.
So it’s kind of a big deal?
Independent businesses are huge for Bury St Edmunds. There are nearly 300 in the town centre, selling everything from jewellery to home furnishings and designer shoes to natural remedies. This is 15 per cent more than the national average.
When is it?
It begins on Monday, July 1, and runs until Sunday, July 7. It was created to coincide with American Independence Day, which this year falls on Thursday, July 4.
Why didn’t they call it Independents Day then?
Yes, they did, back when it was first held in 2011. To quote Mark Cordell, the business improvement district’s chief executive: “We quickly realised that just concentrating on one day was insufficient time to do justice in promoting for all the great independent businesses in Bury town centre.”
The organisers say:
Mike Kirkham, Bury St Edmunds business improvement district’s marketing and business support officer:
“Bury St Edmunds is an ideal place for small independent businesses to start off modestly and grow as their trade increases. Some have started with a stall on our Wednesday and Saturday market and moved on to have their own shop, a number of others have expanded from a small outlet in the town to bigger premises just up the road.
“Every year our Bury St Edmunds surveys residents, visitors and shoppers to find out what people like about the town. The range of independent shops and businesses is always highlighted as part of its unique charm and many would like to see even more independents in our town centre. It’s not all about shops either, we have a fabulous range of independent restaurants, cafes and bars. Some of these have very recently opened such as Spice Garden on Risbygate Street and No. 5 Angel Hill.”
The shops say:
Jane Lord, manager of Javelin in Abbeygate Street:
“We always do something for it and it has worked out well for us in the past. Usually it is the week before our summer sale and we do an offer to promote that.
“The business improvement district’s promotion helps a lot. They are into social media and we have seen that increase the footfall in the shop in previous years.
“I think it has become more well known. We do have a lot of independent shops in Bury St Edmunds and it is great for promoting them.”
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