Do you recall those days when our town centre was primarily defined by big store names, department...
Chicken and Egg: The Footfall Dilemma in Grimsby's Town Centre
"Why don't we have prominent, big-name shops in our town centre?" It's a question that many members of our community frequently pose.
The desire for renowned brands and stores is evident, but the underlying challenge to achieving this goal is rooted in footfall.
Prominent retailers and chains scout for locations buzzing with activity and potential customers.
Their decisions about where to open a new store are heavily influenced by the number of people frequenting the area. Unfortunately, if our town centre currently sees sparse foot traffic, these sought-after brands view us as a less-than-ideal location.
It's reminiscent of the age-old chicken and egg conundrum.
To bring in those coveted larger stores, we must first amplify our footfall.
Yet, for many, increased footfall seems contingent on having these bigger stores in place. It's a cyclical challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
The solution lies within our community. We need to rally behind our existing local shops, cafes, and businesses. By actively supporting and frequenting them, we can organically grow our footfall, making our town centre an attractive proposition for larger retailers.
The latest Long Term Plans for Towns gives some reason to be optimistic.
The strategy begins with the understanding that every place is unique. The emphasis is on the fact that local individuals and organisations are in the best position to address the distinct challenges and opportunities in their towns.
By moving away from a "one-size-fits-all" approach, there's a renewed focus on the unique characteristics and priorities of each location.
This means lots of town centres up and down the country and looking at other alternatives other than big name brands.
The 2025 Group is a testament to this belief.
Formed to unify key stakeholders, it brings together a diverse range of voices from the local authority, police, businesses, community groups, universities, health professionals, and residents all committed to forging a brighter future for our town centre.
The sentiment around town is clear.
Many locals I've conversed with express a strong desire for national chains to set up shop in our centre. This pervasive thought seems to suggest that a town's success hinges on having similar shops as every other town.
But I'd challenge this notion.
True prosperity isn't about copying what everyone else has. It's about daring to stand out, to be different. It's about finding imaginative ways to breathe new life into vacant spaces.
When towns are courageous enough to think outside the box, to repurpose empty department stores and shop units with creativity, truly remarkable transformations can occur.
I'm convinced that if we shift our mindset and approach the issue with an innovative spirit, we can unlock a world of potential for our town.
Let's be bold, let's be different, and let's pave the way for a flourishing Grimsby.
If you want to know how you can get involved with GRIP CIC and the 2025 Group get in touch with Jose Stewart, The 2025 Group Town Centre Ambassador Jose@2025group.com