This article originally appeared at www.is4profit.com
As reported yesterday it was Independents Day 2012, a day where local independent shops are celebrated. Personally, I skipped my regular visit to the local big supermarket chain where I often grab a bite to eat and deliberately visited at the little shops; Needing lunch I visited the Good Taste bakery & café and spent my cash on lunch and a few items for my family at home.
Before embarking on my little mission of financial and moral support though, I set myself a mental challenge of trying to remember the names of the independent shops in Farnborough; who were the big names and which independent retailers could I remember? This was quite a challenge and I found myself naming many of the big brand names and failing to recall so many of the small local shop names.
In one way it was quite disappointing that, working to help small businesses for over a decade, I couldn’t name all the independents. On the other hand it wasn’t surprising because, not using these smaller stores, they become, for want of a better word, innocuous and tend to blend in to the background.
So when I did hit town, rather than merely make a mental note and have an anecdotal stab at statistics, I found myself jotting down the names of all our town centre’s shops.
It must be noted that Farnborough’s town centre doesn’t have a specific “heart” or “centre spot” – Google maps pinpoints “Farnborough” as the Clockhouse Roundabout; a busy convergence along the main A325 arterial road with two other feeder roads.
The real shopping experience is offset toward “The Meads” which is actually 3 shopping malls – Queensmead, Kingsmead and Princesmead (Named in chronological build order)
Queensmead used to be Farnborough’s main street many years ago but was pedestrianised in the 1960s. Kingsmead came along in the early 1980s, if I recall correctly, and Princesmead was built toward the end of the 1980s.
So without further ado, here are the numbers for is4profit’s nearest town centre:
Big Brands 74 Independents 25
That’s big names outnumbering the little guys 3:1
There were also 14 empty retail units, which is sad to see. Maybe the new small business retail leases could help to get these filled with new independent shops?
By is4profit editor Paul Mackenzie Ross