Having read the article last week regarding shopping in Eastwood, I feel personally that Eastwood is faring pretty good especially when compared to Heanor and Ilkeston.
I feel it is all down to the fact Eastwood is the only one of the three that does not have A MEGA shed-type super store. These vast stores suck the very life out of town centres selling everything from paint and gardening items to babywear and washing machines.
However a number of small traders are blaming the supermarkets at either end of the Eastwood for their fall in profits and feel that the high street is doomed.. Greggs and Wetherspoons must see things differently – they do alot of research into footfall before opening their shops and pubs. So what’s going wrong? Too many shops are selling the same things they are not only competing against the supermarkets but also against each other. Convenience stores are similar to the old corner shops with a modern spin. The old shops served about 50 houses each. They were well spaced and only one in four was an off licence. There was a restriction on selling certain items this offered some protection to shops nearby. For example, you may be able to sell potatoes but no ice cream because close by was a sweet shop whose main product was ice-cream. Granted it’s tough out there – people shop on line or visit retail parks for large items but there is a place for local good quality shops. The key to success is giving people want they want without taking the car out. The high street must offer a full range of shops – Eastwood is lacking in some of these which is a shame. We have doctors, dentists, opticians and banks all these are visited by potential shoppers – its all about making them stay longer and taking time to experience the shops. Why not have a once a month car boot or flea market on the Hollies, what about a toy library a pensioners lunch day.
D. H. Lawrence is a tourist attraction yet we can’t buy his books in town without a purpose visit to the museum on Mansfield Road – perhaps the library ought to have a book shop?
It’s nice to see Boyes opening – It’s interesting and may have encouraged some locals to take up new hobbies and visit often for supplies. Now we have an angling centre which could attract customers from further afield – they may enjoy a coffee or a pint and bring money to the area. One of the shop owners mentioned in the article that as an independent retailer he was able to offer negotiation on his prices something the big super markets can not do – I really do not think this is a route the average shopper would like to take – much better to offer excellent customers services and sell something that is different and wanted not just bread, milk and beer like the shop next door. The supermarket has been around a long time. They began to spring up around 1966 where as shopping on line for groceries is relatively new. What does it all mean for the high street? More time to visit individual shops on the high street, time to browse, take the children to the park and call on the way for specific items or maybe just something nice for tea. It all about reinventing its self and providing a service or product that is wanted which saves a trip into town. Eastwood don’t be disillusioned – its all about getting the right range of shops and services and telling family and friends about them – it often recommendation that keeps town centres going.
Eastwood Road, Kimberley