Independentsâ€™ Day is a national campaign that promotes and celebrates independent businesses across the UK on Friday 4 July 2014.
Now in its fourth year, the campaign has quickly become the voice of independent retailers to reach the local community, giving them a chance to be heard and get on peopleâ€™s radar.
We want to see as many independent businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe take part and as many shoppers and consumers switching to buying from local businesses.
Download and display poster
To start you can download an official Independents’ Day poster for display on shop windows or notice boards – how many posters can we get around our towns?
Tell us about you special offers/events
Barnstaple JobcentreÂ Plus is working with local transport organisations to see if it can overcome some transport problems in North Devon. It has decided to look at transport issues experienced by employers in the Mortehoe and Woolacombe area to see if there is a demand for transport assistance for employees living in Ilfracombe, especially in the evenings and week ends.
To help gauge the need, please download JobcentreÂ Plus’ brief questionnaire and email your response back to JOHN.WILLIAMS10@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK
Barnstaple JobcentreÂ Plus is hoping to arrange any assistance for summer 2014 so please respond fast if this could help your business.
Even before the recent submission of Damien Hirstâ€™s application to build 750 high quality homes, businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe had already scheduled a major conference and exhibitionÂ in 2014Â to promote the areaâ€™s accelerating regeneration.
While research by the Centre for Social Justice suggests some UK seaside towns are trapped in a â€˜cycle of povertyâ€™, these three North Devon towns will be highlighting the opportunities available at OPEN FOR BUSINESS at the Landmark Theatre and Pavilion, Ilfracombe on Thursday 6 March, 2014.
Hosted by local business group COMBEbusiness, the event will showcase businesses at an exhibition in the pavilion, while a day-long programme of speaker panels presenting on and debating key issues will run in the 480-seat theatre. The event offers free entry to visitors.
â€œOPEN FOR BUSINESS is an opportunity for people to update their impressions of the area where regeneration is gathering speed,â€ said Robert Zarywacz, chairman of COMBEbusiness.
â€œSeaside towns across the country have struggled for decades to establish new identities and we are pleased to see progress in North Devon. Damien Hirstâ€™s Verity has attracted much attention, while JD Wetherspoonâ€™s investment in its new Admiral Collingwood pub is another vote of confidence. A nearby holiday park is investing Â£2.5 million in its facilities and new, high quality retailers are opening up all the time to transform the shopping experience.
â€œWith hundreds of independent shops, some of the best restaurants and tearooms in Devon, two world-class manufacturing plants and viable new businesses opening all the time, the business mood is definitely optimistic.
â€œIn addition, we are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the edge of Exmoor National Park, enjoy Woolacombeâ€™s award-winning beaches plus Ilfracombeâ€™s unique harbour. Where else would you want to run a business while living on a stunning coastline?â€
OPEN FOR BUSINESS aims
âž¤ Recognise and promote existing businesses â€“ from small to large, manufacturing to tourism
âž¤ Highlight opportunities to increase trade within the three â€˜combesâ€™ themselves, across North Devon, regionally and nationally
âž¤ Detail current investment, promote existing planning permission and discuss opportunities for new development at every level
The conference speaker programme will be confirmed shortly and exhibitions stands are now available for businesses to book online at open4biz.co.uk
Opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs
OPEN FOR BUSINESS is hosted by COMBEbusiness and supported by Devon County Council and North Devon Council.
It offers the opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to discuss investing in, starting up or running a business in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe plus the chance to talk to existing business owners.
â€œThe area has fantastic potential and we are now seeing interest from larger investors,â€ said Robert Zarywacz.
â€œBy attending OPEN FOR BUSINESS, investors and entrepreneurs with vision will realise the potential.â€
Visitors can register for free entry to OPEN FOR BUSINESS at open4biz.co.uk.
Holidays are a marvellous way of seeking out new experiences of every type. When visiting Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe, one of the experiences on offer is discovering the many independent businesses tucked away in the towns and villages.
While in many parts of the UK the decline in small shops has led to domination by supermarkets, here you can buy meat from local farms at a butcher’s shops, a selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables at greengrocers, and bread, cakes and buns made by real bakers. The range of local produce extends from farm-produced clotted cream and ice cream to local beers, jams and chutneys, sausages, pies, chocolate and more.Â Often the difference between freshly produced food and that produced on an industrial scale is unbelievable.
Finding these treasures can require a bit of a hunt. We don’t have major shopping centres or malls and shops can be scattered about town. This makes exploring lanes and alleys even more fun.Â As well as food, there are art galleries, stained glass and other art shops, and specialist retailers including homeware, sports vintage clothing and more.
While you have the time, we hope you’ll enjoy browsing and discovering these treasures and receive good service from shopkeepers.
COMBEbusiness operates on a volunteer basis and we are looking to expand our board to continue developing and supporting businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe.
If you run a business or have business experience or knowledge, we would be happy for you to join our volunteer board.
Our specific requirements are for individuals to:
- Manage our accounts â€“ this a relatively modest accounting task
- Administer our mentoring and training programme
- Identify and obtain funding/increase income to develop/support our activities
However much time you can spare will be welcome.
We would also like to identify more individuals in the area able to deliver business mentoring and training. Topics will range from starting up a business to sector specific issues. There will be remuneration for time spent on mentoring/training.
Please contact Robert on 07971 176044 for more details.
Wednesday 4 July is Independents’ Day in the UK when communities are being urged to support their local independent retailers.
The initiative is being run byÂ Skillsmart Retail, which operates under licence to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and says:
“Independentsâ€™ Day flies the flag for local retailers: the ones who help make our villages, towns and cities so special. Itâ€™s about championing diversity on the high street and recognising the skills behind the shopfront.
“Buy at least one item from an independent retailer on the day and celebrate your independents. Your high street needs you!”
Retailers can downloadÂ posters, put them in their shop windows and start getting their local communities excited about the campaign now. Skillsmart Retail is providingÂ materialsÂ to help decorate shop windows and contact local media. There’s more information available on the Independents’ DayÂ get readyÂ web page.
If you run a shop in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe or Woolacombe in North Devon, take part in Independents’ Day and promote our retail offering so people can see what you offer.
The Heart of the South West (HotSW) is theÂ Local Enterprise Partnership for Devon and Somerset. It replaces the former Regional Development Agency and represents businesses across the two counties.
Because it covers such a large area, it is important that the views of businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe are represented and taken into account when policies are created.
One way of doing this is for individual businesses to participate in the online HotSW forum. You can do this by registering atÂ forums.heartofswlep.co.uk. The more businesses that participate, the more the needs of this area are likely to be considered.