Smaller businesses sign up voluntarily for Our Bury St Edmunds benefits...
Almost 30 businesses that would not usually be eligible for the benefits of Business Improvement District (BID) membership in Bury St Edmunds have voluntarily signed up to join the organisation. It’s ten years this month since the very first voluntary member approached Our Bury St Edmunds Chief Executive Mark Cordell asking how they could join the newly formed BID and after one of the most difficult trading years in memory due to the pandemic, dozens of others are also opting to reap the benefits of the support on offer.
More than 400 businesses over a rateable value threshold are automatically members of the BID – but smaller businesses who pay less in business rates do not qualify. Some of those opting to join – such as the Farmers’ Club and Theatre Royal - are of an eligible size but marginally outside the BID’s defined ‘town centre’ boundary.
Marcia Riddington who owns Smoking Monkey, an antiques shop in St Johns Street, is one of the most recent to sign up to the BID. The shop opened in 2016 and Marcia, who is a passionate advocate of the High Street, said: “Our Bury St Edmunds offers great value for money to its business members. The free training courses alone are so helpful but there’s the support aspect, working on behalf of the businesses with other organisations such as local authorities plus the general promotion of independent businesses, St Johns Street itself and the town centre in general.”
Membership of Our Bury St Edmunds allows businesses to take advantage of a range of business support measures including free training courses such as fire warden and first aid skills, as well as numerous marketing opportunities.
Mark Cordell added: “Our very first voluntary member was Auntie Pam’s Sweet Shop in The Traverse in April 2011. At that time I said that I wanted the BID to be an organisation that companies in the town would want to be part of and I’m delighted that since then we’ve had a steady number of voluntary members continue their membership year after year. As we emerge from a particularly challenging time, four small independent businesses have signed up for membership in the last month alone. I look forward to working with them and all our members to maximise trading opportunities as shoppers and visitors return to the town centre.”