Spring in Our Step
Experience Chipping Norton is greeting spring with renewed vigour and a host of exciting plans set to launch this year.
ECN used their March public meeting to get things rolling – with the aim of boosting local business initiatives and resident involvement in the town.
Fitting, then, that the meeting was held at Chipping Norton Tea Set’s brand new town café, showcasing Victoria Wills’ range of vintage china and award-winning cakes.
Building on the momentum of last year’s Great British High Street of the Year achievement, when Chippy reached the Market Town finals, we want to reach new heights in 2016.
So what’s in store this year for Chipping Norton?
Yes, Chippy has its very own Snake Pit, our unique twist on the ever-popular Dragon’s Den. Local businessman and self-declared ‘pro business’ District Councillor, Guy Wall, has joined forces with ECN Chairman Shaun Fagan to promote the initiative.
Rather than people pitching to the ‘Dragons’ for cash, as they do on the hugely popular and long-running BBC show, our contestants will pitch to local ‘Snake’ business leaders and entrepreneurs for access to their professional expertise – law, finance, economics, banking, web design and PR for starters.
Work is under way to enlist our first Snakes and contestants, targeting the local business people who will advise and support the winners.
Building on the Snake Pit, ECN is currently on the hunt for local premises suitable to give local start-ups and budding entrepreneurs a leg-up in their first business outing.
The plan is to offer free hot-desking and WiFi facilities in a convenient town location. We’d love to hear from anyone with spare space available, however humble!
Pop up shop
The Old Post Office is once again serving town needs. Having converted it into ECN headquarters and polling station during the Great British High Street campaign in 2015, ECN is once again fortunate enough to use it for boosting local business.
We’ve received initial approval from the District Council to turn it into a pop up shop, while it remains vacant. The plan is for three to five local business people to operate there, especially at weekends, creating a true mini arcade.
We’ve been delighted with the local reaction to ECN’s range of designer merchandise. Selling well in several Chippy shops, our ambition is to offer our bags, purses, mugs and coasters through every shop in town.
Guy Wall is working with ECN member Wendy Logan – head of our merchandise team – to sign up more outlets, including our larger companies like Sainsbury’s and Midcounties Co-op.
Trader Facebook Group
Our exciting new décor business, Bliss Interiors, is in the process of setting up a private Facebook group to involve high street retailers in important decisions affecting their trade.
Bliss Interiors owner, Kate Gerrish, will manage the group once it’s up and running. She’s keen to give a forum to retailers where they can discuss Sunday trading, special promotions and a range of issues encouraging business collaboration.
This is a new ECN initiative currently in its early stages. We’d love to hear from volunteers keen to be involved in developing this scheme – especially anyone with experience and knowledge of similar programs.
It might seem a long way off, but lots of planning goes into Christmas trading and promotion. ECN member Julia Cook is working with the Town Council on some great seasonal town initiatives.
Proud WOBA Winner Julia Cook
We’re so proud of Julia, the high-profile designer who owns and runs two sensational Chippy shops – Tickittyboo children’s wear and Tickittyshake shake shop.
Tickittyboo reached the finals of the New Business Award category in the 2016 West Oxfordshire Business Awards (WOBAs) – well done Julia!
If you’re a bingo fan, you’re in for a treat. ECN member Gary Snyder has his hands full organising a series of bingo nights at Chippy Town Hall, complete with entertainment and bar of course. Stay tuned for more.
Local businessman and personality, Ken Norman, is working on a fundraising stand-up comedy night for ECN. Chippy is known for its comedy evenings, so don’t miss out. More to come.