Traders in Chorley town centre are urging people to keep shopping local amid signs that business is quietly booming following a campaign to get people to support their local traders.
This combined with Chorley Council’s expanding events programme and offer of more free parking is seeing the town centre buck the national trend with footfall remaining steady and businesses reporting record-breaking weeks.
The latest boost to trade came following the new ‘A Taste of Chorley’ event, which celebrated the fantastic food offer in the town centre.
Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We’ve made a conscious decision to invest in the town centre because it is vital we have a focal point for the borough as it serves not only the town centre residents but those in the outlying villages too.
“Our markets and independent traders set us apart from neighbouring towns and cities and by working together with the businesses we are now seeing the benefits when you compare it to the dire state other places are in.
“You’ve got to make an effort to attract visitors and with events like Chorley Live, What’s Your Story, Chorley? Chorley Grand Prix and our new food event you can see it is starting to make a difference.
“There is a risk with some of the investments we are making in the town centre, but the biggest risk would be to do nothing, and the feedback from businesses suggests what we are doing is working.”
June has seen more than one record-breaking week for the Covered Market’s The Bees Country Kitchen and owner Mike Bryan says this is down to hard work and Chorley’s growing reputation.
“We have been really busy over the last few weeks and it’s no coincidence that when events are held it brings more people into Chorley, which means more customers for the traders,” she said.
“There’s no secret to the success it’s about hard work and the independent traders, working with the council, to showcase what a fantastic offer we’ve already got here in Chorley.”
The town centre is also becoming a stop off point for real ale lovers from all over the North West and underpinning all the successes has been the town’s Totally Locally Chorley campaign, which is led by the traders.
Victoria Garside, Chair of Totally Locally Chorley, said the important thing is for people to keep supporting their local traders.
“What sets us independent traders apart is our ability to build relationships with customers and sometimes that personal touch is what makes all the difference to the shoppers,” said Victoria.
“The variety and quality of offer in Chorley is excellent – you just have to look at what fantastic food businesses we were supporting last weekend – people do travel from all over Lancashire to the markets and to get fresh produce and long may that continue.
“These are difficult times for traders and not everyone is breaking records with their sales but with the support of the council and residents we can continue to buck the national trend and give all our businesses the best possible chance to succeed.”
Footfall in the town centre has remained steady throughout 2017 averaging out at pretty much the same as last year against a national picture which shows a decline.