Ideas to help Brechin’s shops

Brechin in Partnership held a vision group on the afternoon of August 24 when a number of local retailers took part in a workshop aimed at improving Brechin’s shops and businesses.

Laura Falconer, an independent retail consultant who has worked for 30 years in store design, led the meeting, discussing some key points that she thought could increase the usage of Brechin’s shops.

Laura raised the following key points:-

Her first impression of Brechin is that it is “A town hiding its light under a bushel” stating that Brechin is quiet about what is out there and is not as up front as it could be.

One of the challenges Brechin faces is that it has drive through traffic, something that can be a problem but not a huge problem.

The old Woolworths store stood out to Laura. She explained that there are old Woolworths buildings lying empty throughout the country. However, Brechin’s could be presented better.

An example on how she would improve this was by using the stores windows to tell a story about Brechin. With permission of the owner a town map could be put into the window that shows where all shops/eateries etc., are located.

Ideas for using the outside of the store were discussed.

Laura discussed that stores in Brechin have tired facias, with some shops needing to be painted.

Handwritten notices on windows and doors should not be used, unless it is in keeping with the rest of the store.

She explained that lots of colour used effectively can improve a store and that window displays should reflect the feel of the shop.

Such displays should be changed regularly and windows should be kept clean at all times.

Once inside the store there should be easy access for the customer with room to move.

Prices should be on display, especially for promotions, otherwise people will think things are too expensive.

Some of the issues currently faced by Brechin include not being allowed to paint shops brightly because the area is a conservation area. However, there is guidance available within the council.

There is a lack of promotional signage to direct people into Brechin.

To move forward it was agreed that small things breed success and that, by working together on something like a Christmas shopping night and building consistency, this may encourage more retailers who were unable to attend or did not attend to join in as it had been noted that, in the past, retailers have not worked collectively.

The Christmas light switch-on will take place on December 10 and it is hoped that this will be a good opportunity for retailers to think about tagging on to the event.

It has also been suggested to hold an independent customer survey.

Moving forward, a meeting of local retailers will take place on Tuesday, September 13 at 5 pm to 7 pm in the THI office.

All local retailers are encouraged to attend the meeting.