Over 60 independent business owners and retail chain managers attended an event at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum on Thursday 30th April, to learn about a proposed Business Improvement District for Exeter.
The group heard from a variety of speakers representing independent retailers, franchises and national chains operating within the city, including Mattie Richardson, Chairperson of Fore Street Collective and owner of Bunyip Beads and Buttons, David Shawyer, McDonalds Franchisee and Ray Frame, Store Manager of Wilko. Each explained why they would support the introduction of a BID scheme within the City Centre.
Mattie Richardson, said "Exeter's point of difference is its varied and vibrant independent sector – a BID scheme would allow those businesses a greater collective voice, and budget, with which to improve our city and bring more visitors to our shops."
David Shawyer, said "As a business which operates over a 24 hour period, we have a unique trading perspective. Our BID can deliver a number of substantial benefits including increased visitor numbers through effective marketing in conjunction with an exciting calendar of events, a safer evening environment, improvements to access through better value car parking, and in addition there are some operational benefits that can be achieved, such as collective buying to reduce costs. I fully support the BID and believe that a successful BID can enable our City to realise its true potential."
Speakers from both the Bath and Lincoln BIDs also spoke at the event. Matt Corrigan has lead the Lincoln BID since 2005 and is positive that the BID will be renewed for a third term next year. He explained to the group how he has been able to increase the budget of the BID from £358,000 to £1.5 million.Andrew Cooper from Bath BID talked about how they had used the BID levy to introduce a range of services and programmes as well as to mount seasonal events, including Bath in Fashion event, which received national recognition and coverage in its first year.
The next step for the Exeter BID is to consult with business within the proposed area. A team of BID supporters across the City Centre including Ben Barlaba, from The LXS @ Centre Stage, Don Spurgon, from El Bocado, Andrew McNeily, Guildhall Shopping Centre, Wayne Pearce, Princesshay, Mattie Richardson, Bunyip Beads and Buttons Kate Connock, John Lewis and David Shawyer of McDonalds are happy to answer questions and Lucy Ball and Ian Broadfoot of Destination Marketing will visit businesses across the city over the coming weeks and months, ascertaining views and ideas for the BID scheme.