Help us plea from retailer

More needs to be done to encourage retailers in the town centre - that's today's blunt message from one of the most successful specialist stores in Ipswich.

IPSWICH: More needs to be done to encourage retailers in the town centre - that's today's blunt message from one of the most successful specialist stores in Ipswich.

Steve Grimwood, owner of Elmy Cycles in St Helen's Street, called for measures to make it easier for customers to remain loyal to the town's small businesses.

“The way things are set up at the moment there has been so much favour put on out of town shopping centres now it's almost impossible to shop any other way. To come into town now it's very hard and you have to very dedicated,” he said.

Mr Grimwood admitted it had been a “tough decision” to stay in the town centre when the expansion of his business meant he had to move to new premises in April this year.


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He said parking on site had made a “massive difference” to trade, but he also had a very loyal customer base.

“If you need to park miles away or you need to find a pay and display car park for half an hour it becomes much less attractive than going to an out of town shopping centre,” he said.

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In spite of all the challenges he faces, Mr Grimwood said he had seen turnover double since the move.

“There were all sorts of businesses all down this road and over the years that's disappeared,” he said.

“Access to the area is not easy. We get very frustrated sometimes with decisions that are made regarding access to the premises on the road and we often feel our views aren't really considered in the grand scheme of things.”

Ipswich's economic development spokesman Richard Atkins said: “We are looking at various initiatives to encourage more retailers in the town centre but it's at the very early stages.”

Ipswich Central which represents 720 businesses within the town's Business Improvement District (BID) said Elmy was outside the area they were responsible for but added that Mr Grimwood's comments should be taken “very seriously”.

“There is a real need to make Ipswich more appealing. Better provision of parking spaces and a pricing strategy which is aimed at incentivising more visits of a longer duration is key,” it said.

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