Bury Free Press BID Column December 2023
As the year draws to a close it’s still a very busy season for many of our town centre businesses. In retail customers are heading for the sales, hopefully looking to spend Christmas money and Our Bury St Edmunds Gift Cards and hospitality businesses will be celebrating New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile the Bury St Edmunds Family Christmas Ice Rink is still in place at arc Shopping Centre and will be there until Wednesday, offering a great free attraction for families in the school holidays.
Earlier this month we held our annual competition to find the town centre’s best dressed festive shop window. Everyone makes such an effort with their Christmas displays and customers and visitors to the town centre select the winner by voting on the LoyalFree app. Edit Clinic, which has been based in Risbygate Street for around two years was a runaway winner this year for owner Victoria, with Gerald Boughton Formal Hire and River Island our two runners up. Congratulations to them all.
And talking of winners Bury St Edmunds was crowned England’s most dog-friendly town at a ceremony last month and runner-up for the UK title. The dog-friendly destination initiative has been a success thanks to the hard work of Jon Kay from Camp Tails Doggy Day Care with support from us at the Business Improvement District (BID) and also Bury St Edmunds Town Council.
The Town Council has partnered the BID in a number of initiatives for the benefit of the town centre in recent years, including the current ice rink attraction. Much of this has been made possible with the help and encouragement of the retiring Town Clerk, Greg Luton, and I wish him well and thank him for all he’s done to enable this productive partnership.
Although during 2023 the economy has never been far from the news headlines, Bury St Edmunds – while not without its challenges – has still been attracting new businesses. With the number in double figures for this year, we have more to look forward to in 2024 with Primark and Everyman Cinema as the eagerly awaited new tenants of the flagship building at arc Shopping Centre.
Big ‘High Street’ names are critical for the success of a town centre but just as important are the smaller independent businesses – and Bury St Edmunds and especially St Johns Street is well known for its eclectic mix. Small Business Saturday is an initiative to celebrate and promote the independents and I was pleased to accompany our MP, Jo Churchill, on a visit to Hatter Street recently so she could see first hand how important this element of the local economy is. Another small business celebrating success is Lark which has been featured in the latest Michelin Guide.
Finally, all of us at Our Bury St Edmunds wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and thank all who have supported our town centre businesses in 2023.
By Mark Cordell, CEO of Our Bury St Edmunds BID.