Login Register

Traders urged to 'change or die'

TOWN leaders are urging traders in Frodsham to revolutionise the way they do business to prevent the community's economy dying on its feet.

TOWN leaders are urging traders in Frodsham to revolutionise the way they do business to prevent the community's economy dying on its feet.

Concerned that many small retailers are losing out to giant out-of-town shopping centres, councillors are checking out sources of grant funding for possible new schemes to attract more visitors and give local traders a boost.

Town councillor Tom Reynolds said: 'It would be a great shame to see Frodsham die because we have some great businesses here.

'But there's got to be some sort of new initiative to bring people in to see what local businesses have to offer.

'As a first step, traders probably needed to rethink their opening times.

'Frodsham is very much ruled by nine-to-five shopping hours but the world just doesn't operate like that,' said Cllr Reynolds.

'We need to think about doing things in a better way by introducing new ideas to shopkeepers, but it would probably come down to finding some hard cash to fund it.

'We perhaps need some type of officer to come into Frodsham on a regular basis to build up a rapport with businesses and an understanding of problems they face and the sort of pressures they are under, because I feel at the moment there's an impasse between the town council and Frodsham Chamber of Trade.'

Town councillor Nigel Griffiths said he had 'great hopes' for the Chamber of Trade when he encouraged businesses to reform the organisation several years ago.

He said he tried to work closely with members but 'eventually gave up' after various ideas he suggested were rejected.

'There was quite a bit of interest in the Chamber of Trade initially, but it waned so quickly,' said Cllr Griffiths.

'It is fairly dormant now. Members meet if anything major comes up, but I don't think it does anything positive for Frodsham.'

Cllr Griffiths said he personally had suggested various ideas to the Chamber of Trade, including trying to appoint a town manager, similar to one based in Crewe and Nantwich, to work with shopkeepers on ways to improve local trade.

'For some reason, traders in Frodsham didn't think that idea would be viable,' he said.

Local landlords could show their support by reducing rent on shop premises, said Cllr Griffiths ­ 'but if we tried to encourage that, I think it would fall on stoney ground.'

Some Frodsham shops had tried late night opening during the Christmas season two years ago, but it didn't take off, said town councillor Annabelle Thompson.

She suggested a regular farmers' market might succeed in Frodsham and bring extra people in, and deputy mayor Dennis Taylor wondered whether more local shops could be persuaded to open on Sundays.

Town councillor Andy Shuker said: 'We want to make Frodsham the sort of place where people want to stop rather than just pass through.'

However, town and borough councillor Brian Lloyd suggested shopkeepers could do more to help themselves.

Few traders took advantage of half-price training courses offered under a Welcome Host scheme.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details