More town traders prepared to support idea of opening Wednesday afternoons
SHOPS in Ilkeston are embracing the idea of a staying open on Wednesday afternoons, according to early indications which show support for a trial run.
For decades some shops in the town have traditionally closed early on Wednesdays, often at lunchtime.
But some traders believe that with changing shopping trends local shops could be losing out during the harsh economic climate, making life even more difficult for businesses.
Enterprise agency Erewash Partnership is encouraging traders, particularly those in the town centre, to back a trial run of opening all day on Wednesdays from December 7 to the end of January so as to take advantage of the busy festive period.
A snap survey of businesses shows that more than 100 shops, both independents and those in national chains, will be keeping their doors open to customers in the afternoons from Wednesday.
The Partnership is supporting the trial with a free promotional package to benefit businesses and shoppers. This includes free posters for shop windows, and a list of open shops on the Ilkeston town centre website www.ilkeston.biz
“The response so far has been positive,” said Erewash market towns co-ordinator Paul Calladine.
“A fair number of shops already do stay open on Wednesday afternoons, contrary to popular perception, but the fact that more are prepared to take the plunge is encouraging.
“The shops that are taking part are sending out a clear message, at least for the next few
weeks, that on Wednesday afternoons Ilkeston is open for business.”
Councillor Geoff Smith, Erewash Borough Council lead member for planning and regeneration said; “I’m delighted that so many shops are taking part in this initiative and hope that shoppers will respond. This trial could be a shot in the arm for local businesses.”
Some traders have already gained from opening on Wednesday afternoons ahead of the initiative.
Ruth Gough took over Petals Flowers at the bottom of Bath Street in November and was planning to open on Wednesday afternoons until 3.30pm, instead of closing at lunchtime.
On Wednesday November 23 while putting up Christmas decorations customers were able to gain access and Ruth trebled her takings.
“I’m keen for this trial to be a success and hope the traders and shoppers will benefit,” she said.”
Sandra Lee opened Harpur and Finch’s gift shop in Bath Street last month.
“We have opened the last two Wednesday afternoons and the response from the public has been fantastic,” she said.
“Some people have Wednesdays afternoons off and find it useful to have shops open. Many other businesses are open so I don’t see why shops shouldn’t be.”