'Sidmouth's late-night shopping event was not what we hoped for'
- Credit: Vince Page
Ok, so how was it for you?
Word on the street is that late night opening last week was not what had been hoped for and to be honest, I would agree, but realistically no one was really to blame.
It was one of the subjects I raised at the first meeting we attended of the chamber of commerce and without doubt the late-night opening format needs to be looked at and requires the participation of as many businesses in the town as possible to make it viable, because it seems as though the current format is too restrictive and only works for the few, not the majority it is aimed at.
No one could have predicted the recent change in restrictions due to Covid and without doubt, contending with the wearing of masks into shops played a part in the proceedings, although the general theme of the one night appears to be akin to a theme park, rather than aiming at getting the public into stores, which at this particular time they need more than ever.
As entertaining as all the street attractions may be, it doesn’t have any major influence on the stores who participate in the event.
No one can dispute the hard work invested by volunteers who put in their fair share of time and effort although I am sure those who know, will claim substantial figures for the influx of people into the town on the day in question, but maybe it’s the wrong people that the marketing appeals to.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many people visit the town, if they’re not spending their hard earned cash in our stores and businesses then the event will not be supported by those businesses that it was originally designed to assist.
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While the odd claim of “well, we had a busy evening” reverberates around the ears of those it needs to, that doesn’t wash for the business owners who it failed and it is those who need to be attended to if it is to work next year.
If you run your own business, you work long hours, it goes with the territory, so when you invest a few more hours into a day to support an event you always hope it will be financially beneficial, because if it isn’t, what’s the point?
You work enough hours as it is, without working extra hours for nothing.