Chamber Chat with Nick Wilkinson
So lockdown persists but our high streets fight on. I can say for certain that all retail and hospitality are looking forward to April and the reopening of our City Centre’s retail and hospitality (admittedly, outdoor only but it’s a step forward). Both of which have received a massive battering over the last 12 months.
It is with this in mind that I say a big thank you to the Lancaster City Centre businesses for their vote of confidence in the Lancaster BID ballot back in February. Reflecting on this both myself and the team are well aware of the massive challenges ahead of us.
The lock down has further moved retail ‘online’ but it has also shown us the importance of the high street for the sense of community, vibrancy and creativity it brings. It has also opened the way for better interconnectedness between our local high streets and the internet. We’ve seen many examples of this in Lancaster City Centre, ranging from traditional bricks and mortar retailers creating equally impressive online shop fronts (Rene’s of Lancaster is a great example) or our adored local restaurants offering amazing food at home (I tried Simply French last week – the food was as impressive at home as in their restaurant).
Given what’s be going on change on the high street is inevitable and this is clearly seen in Lancaster. There are lots of positive developments on the go with local companies expanding and opening new venues (Journey Social being one) and we have lots of interest from the larger nationals which are looking to take some of the bigger units in Lancaster City Centre.
I for one am looking forward to getting down my local (the Wobbly) and getting that well earned pint with my friends.
I will finish with a simple request…get your shopping shoes on, get your tables booked and get out there and help your local high streets wherever you are.
Chamber Director (and Chair of Lancaster BID)