The Best of Henley supports Think Local.
With today's item on BBC breakfast, and the launch of the Henley Standard's Think Local campaign, Henley has been getting wider exposure on its empty shops and what is being done to regenerate the town.
We believe that the all towns are suffering the same problems as Henley. The two major forces affecting us outside of the recession have to be the arrival of internet shopping and the growth of out of town supermarkets. The recent collapse of the economy has only accelerated shop closings. Henley now has 20% of its retail space empty, though 4 of these spaces are soon to be occupied by household names like Laura Ashley and Sainsburys.
Henley needs to continue to welcome new retailers to the town, encouraging landlords to be realistic about their rents. The revived Henley Partnership is taking action on three fronts to develop Henley as an attractive place to do business. They are focusing on parking, the Henley websites and an Easter shopping initiative.
The Henley Standard's initiative to Think Local is a great idea. At the Best of Henley we champion all local businesses, helping them to market themselves to local people and other local business owners. Local businesses do want to support other local businesses but often don't know that they exist. We can arrange for businesses to meet and support each other and have regular Networking Evenings that put businesses together.
We know that a thriving retail environment is vital to the prosperity of the town but feel that the non retail companies are often overlooked. Henley has plenty of successful commercial concerns. They bring the jobs to the town. Employees buy sandwiches and drinks at lunchtime. They will also dine at local restaurants, have a drink in a town pub or buy an outfit for the Regatta. We need to encourage more companies to come to Henley or start up here. With more businesses will come more successful shops.
We should also not ignore the successful businsses in Henley, many of them award winning. For example KuBu Spa is a fantastic place to relax in and has won several awards and recommendations. Southern Plant is a great place to hire any equipment you need. They have a great reputation with their customers. Gorvett & Stone make award winning chocolates on their premises in Bell Street. Loddon Brewery, nearby in Dunsden, brew award winning beers. Chris and Vanesssa Hearn, the owners of Loddon, support lots of local businesses and are involved with the Food Festival.
Henley aslo should be extremely proud of its Regattas and Festivals. We have the world famous Royal Reggata and the Henley Festival. Recent start ups like the Food Festival, the Fringe Festival and the Literary Festival are great for the town. They bring plenty of visitors to the town that we should make the most of. They are also superb events for local people to be involved in or come along to.
With coordinated initiatives Henley can attract more shops and businesses to the town. If local people were just to spend 10% more of their money with local shops and businesses everybody would benefit.
Let us know what you think. Phil & Gill Chappell
Member since: 9th July 2012
Hi, We are Phil and Gill Chappell. We own the Best of Henley-on-Thames. We live in Henley so would love to hear your views and opinions about all things Henley.