A year of success for Ashfield’s retail improvement grant

May 11, 2017 3:55 pm

Arena Hair interior shot - retail improvement grant

A number of local shops across Ashfield have now benefited from Ashfield District Council’s retail improvement scheme.  Since the grant’s introduction last year, many businesses are now seeing changes, financed through the grant, make a real difference.

Making a real difference

In fact, retail businesses have used the grant for a range of improvements.  These have included signage, fittings and displays, interior and exterior repairs, equipment, uniform, website development and computer systems.  These changes have resulted in noticeable improvements to each shop’s appearance and/or its trading and efficiency.

From large revamps to small cosmetic tweaks, ten Ashfield retail businesses have now taken advantage of the grant.  What’s more, there are a further four businesses still yet to claim their grant.

Grants are available to existing and new retailers.  Either for improving their existing premises or a vacant retail unit they are moving into.  In short, applicants could receive up to 50% of the total project costs up to a maximum of £5,000.  Furthermore, the grant can be awarded over more than one application.

Spotlight on Hucknall

There have been three recent beneficiaries in Hucknall: Arena Hair, Need2View Sales and Lettings and Spelt and Rye.  Moreover, they have all worked successfully with the Council throughout the streamlined application process.  And they have all now also put the grant money towards improving their businesses.

Arena Hair is based in an old school house in Hucknall.  They put their grant towards a new computer system to replace their outdated manual booking system, consequently increasing efficiency.

Martin Leach is the owner of Arena Hair.  Martin explained: “The Council has always proactively supported us all round with our business needs and planning.  The grant has gone a long way indeed to improving the running of day-to-day business on the shop floor.  And the new system has also enabled us to market ourselves more and increase the outreach of our business”.

Spelt and Rye bakery owner Philip Roadley took over an empty unit on Annesley Road in Hucknall.  He has successfully transformed it into an artisan bakery and deli.  He said: “During the grant application, I received support every step of the way from the Council’s Regeneration Team.

“The grant has allowed me to open my shop by contributing towards many essential items I needed to start-up.  I could not have done it without the grant”.

Graham Field from Need2View Sales and Lettings explained that the grant has helped to completely transform their premises’ external appearance.

“The exterior of our premises was really in need of a face-lift.  So we were delighted when our application for grant funding was approved by Ashfield District Council.

“The grant meant that we could undertake work such as rendering, re-painting and add new signage.  It has really caught the attention of our clients, other businesses and local people who have all commented very positively”.

Across Ashfield

Bowkays (Kirkby) and Robinsons Furniture (Sutton) have also recently discovered they will be awarded a grant towards premises improvements.

Bowkays’ owner is Kayley Day.  Kayley has grown her floristry business from a small market stall into an established shop on Kirkby high street.  She said: “I was so happy when I was informed that my application had been approved.  The grant will enable me to improve the appearance of my shop front and buy a much-needed new door.  It’s fantastic that there is this type of support from the Council for local businesses”.

Robinsons Furniture is an established family-run business based on Outram Street in Sutton for nearly 40 years.  They plan to use the funding to refurbish their shop to maintain their high street presence.  Owner Mrs Robinson was delighted to hear that her application had been accepted.

“Being offered a grant from the Council is fantastic news.  Part of the grant will contribute towards the refurbishment of our shop to encourage more local customers to visit.  And the other part of the grant will help towards a virtual tour of the shop for our on-line customers.  The support we received throughout the process from the Council was great”.

Further success

Kirkby-in-Ashfield based hair and beauty salon, Chic Boutique is a  former grant recipient.  They have recently been shortlisted for a hair and beauty award for the East Midlands.

Natalie Wadley is co-owner of Chic Boutique.  Natalie said: “We never imagined that when creating Chic Boutique we would now be offering these employment and training opportunities.  And moving forward hopefully to expand and provide more job opportunities for the area.

“The retail improvement grant was so easy to apply for and the decision was quick.  This helped build a salon where people want to work and created job satisfaction and training opportunities.  We feel very lucky to have such a supportive team and a loyal customer base.  We will be eternally grateful for the added support of our local authority and the community”.

Find out more

Edd de Coverly is Service Director for Place and Communities at Ashfield District Council.  Edd said: “We recognise the importance of the area’s town centres and local shopping streets to the local economy.  It’s fantastic to see this grant scheme making such a difference to local businesses and creating jobs for local residents”.

Find out more about the retail improvement grant for shops in Ashfield.  There is also a related grant for the indoor and outdoor markets in Ashfield.  Find out more.  For an informal discussion, please contact us on (01623) 463174 or by e-mail.

Not quite what you’re looking for?  Not only do we offer a range of business grants across Ashfield and Mansfield, but we also promote other grants.  So there may well be something else out there that could benefit your business.  Find out more.

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