Independent businesses in the city centre are looking forward to putting the advice of retail guru Corin Birchall into action following two days of workshops and one-to-one consultations.
Corin was in Lincoln this week to share his wealth of expertise with retailers in the Sincil Street and Central Market area.
The events, which coincided with Independents’ Day on July 4, were organised by Lincoln BIG and City of Lincoln Council to help support businesses affected by the closure of the bus station while work takes place to create the £30 million Lincoln Transport Hub.
Mr Birchall praised Lincoln’s approach to marketing itself as a visitor destination, saying: “I can’t think of anybody that’s doing a better job than you are doing in Lincoln. I frequently point other cities to look at Lincoln, it’s the benchmark. The missing piece is how we convert that additional traffic into money at the till.
“I think in the current climate the extent of the investment into this part of the city is pretty unprecedented and the opportunity for the independent businesses here is tremendous.
“While it’s challenging, some small changes in how some of the businesses operate can not only have a dramatic impact on their turnover now but set them up perfectly for when the footfall comes back. When the original footfall comes back business will be better than before.”
Traders were invited to two evening workshops at The Terrace, in Grantham Street, focusing on the challenges faced by businesses in tough times, and exploring how businesses can benefit from getting involved in city centre events.
Neil Bhalla, who has owned Dollar Jeans for 26 years, said: “Corin was really helpful. He gave us a different perspective on how we run our businesses. Sometimes you think you’re doing things right but there are better ways of doing things. He was able to share the diversity of experience he’s got with us to help us grow businesses in the right direction. It’s invaluable.”
Brian Lambert, of Lambert’s Footwear, said: “It’s been very interesting. No matter how well you think you are doing, it’s good to get an outside view. We’ve planned quite a few things as a result - lots of little things that will make a big difference. We are hoping to work more closely with organisations such as BIG and get involved in events. Everything will work better if we all work together.”
Photo: Neil Bhalla, Brian Lambert, and Lincoln BIG’s Richard Baxter with Corin Birchall of Kerching Retail