Business issues

Event: Dr Molly Scott-Cato MEP to visit Ilfracombe

Member of the European Parliament for the South West Dr Molly Scott-Cato will be visiting the Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe from 6pm to 7pm on Wednesday 22 February to host an hour of informal discussion about what a future outside the European Union may look like.

COMBEbusiness members are invited to attend the event where Dr Scott-Cato will give a short introduction on the subject of the UK Post Brexit followed by an open discussion.

Refreshments will be available.

No reservation is required, but please attend promptly for a punctual 6pm start.

31 October deadline for North Devon Tourism Marketing Group pledges

From January 2015 North Devon will no longer be promoted as a tourism destination. This means no money will be spent on advertising the area and visitor numbers will decline. Businesses will have less income, less money to employ people and less money to spend with other local businesses.

Trevor Stanbury has initiated the North Devon Tourism Marketing Group so that promotion continues, but it requires businesses to support and fund it. To ensure marketing of the area is up and running at the start of 2015, the Tourism Marketing Group needs pledges of support by 31 October so that it can start planning.

For full details and to pledge your support, download the Tourism Marketing Group flyer.

Celebrate Independents’ Day on Friday 4 July

Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe are seaside resorts characterised by hundreds of independent businesses striving to offer the best retail experience to both visitors and residents in North Devon. From butchers and bakers to greengrocers, delis, shoemenders as well as gift shops and galleries, there is a wealth of choice.
COMBEbusiness is encouraging independent business owners to celebrate Independents’ Day on Friday 4 July by displaying event posters and offering promotions. In Ilfracombe, The Cotton Tree is holding a sale on selected items of organic children’s clothing, while the Periwinkle Knitting Café will be offering 10% discount on wool.
While much of the community already values our independent shops and shopkeepers, our mission is to encourage more people to visit their independents on Friday 4 July and every day of the year.
• To download posters and materials for Independents Day, visit

Support local businesses on Independents’ Day

Independents Day 2014Independents’ 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 people’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

Tell us about any special offers you want to promote or any events you will be hosting at @combebusiness or on Facebook or Google+.

For full details, resources and to participate, visit Follow the official campaign on Twitter (@IndieDayUK and #IndieDay) and Facebook.

Mortehoe and Woolacombe transport survey for employers

Barnstaple Jobcentre 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 Jobcentre Plus’ brief questionnaire and email your response back to JOHN.WILLIAMS10@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

Barnstaple Jobcentre Plus is hoping to arrange any assistance for summer 2014 so please respond fast if this could help your business.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe

COMBEbusiness is supporting Small Business Saturday on Saturday 7 December.

Any small business can participate and we encourage all customers to use small businesses on the day and beyond.

To take part, you can download logos and banners or send for poster and information pack at

You could:

  • offer special deals to customers
  • hold events
  • link up with other businesses
  • or choose your own way to celebrate the day

You can also follow on Twitter at @SmallBizSatUK and on Facebook at

Take the opportunity to explore independent shops and attractions on your holiday

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. 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. 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.


Could we buy more locally?

Research by GfK shows that British consumers are more thrifty than any other nation, according to a FT article. This could be seen as bad news for businesses because consumers are buying less, but it also provides opportunities. It can be tough persuading consumers to change their buying habits, but those who are looking to change are more open to new ideas. Could your business attract new customers who are looking to change?

There is also a growing movement towards buying locally. Price is not always the biggest concern here: availability, speed of delivery and quality can all make local offerings more attractive.

There is a vast selection of products and services available in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe. We can buy locally sourced and produced bread, meat, vegetables and produce and everything from DIY materials to shoes, clothes, pet supplies, bicycles, bools and videos, flowers, artists’ materials, stationery, photographic supplies and services, homeware and more. There are also business services available including accountants, solicitors, insurance, travel agents, marketing and printers.

Do we want people to use our local businesses more? Do we use local businesses ourselves?

While not everyone will want to use every local supplier, it makes sense to start off by seeing what is available locally before we look elsewhere. After all, if we don’t support other local businesses, why should they support our own business?

If we’re not attracting local business, is there a reason for this? Is our offering relevant? Are there things we could do differently in our business? Do potential customers know we even exist?

There is so much that every business can do to attract more local customers.

Businesses in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe working to increase youth employment

While the Local Government Association has called for local councils to be given a bigger role in addressing youth unemployment, COMBEbusiness is already working to address this in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe in North Devon.

COMBEbusiness hosted its first community apprentice event in February 2012 and is widening this to its youth employment, enterprise and training event from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 6 February at the Ilfracombe Centre.

Anyone can drop in to this free event:

Young people, students and jobseekers: to find out about opportunities, information and support.

Families: to learn more about how they can support children, grandchildren and young relatives get on to the careers ladder.

Businesses: to find out about what part they can play in employing apprentices and offering work experience as well as the funding and support available for this.

Every section of the community has a part to play in encouraging, supporting and advising young people choosing their future career path. Representatives from Careers South West, Construction Industry Training Board, Ilfracombe Arts College, Jobecentre Plus, Petroc and PLUSS will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Businesses will also be there to answer questions on working in different sectors and to give tips on job seeking.

COMBEbusiness welcomes all opportunities to unlock existing local expertise, advice and support within the community which can often produce powerful results.

Flyers for broadband campaign now available for download

Flyers to publicise the need for residents and businesses to complete the Connecting Devon and Somerset survey to establish demand for superfast broadband are now available.

Choose to download PDF flyers for:

Please download these, email them to your colleagues, friends and family, or print them our and distribute them as necessary.

We need as many people as possible in Combe Martin, Ilfracombe and Woolacombe to register their interest in superfast broadband at