Spruce Up Your Shopfront
Helping Petersfield meet the challenges during and post-lockdown.
Businesses on the ‘high street’ are facing unprecedented challenges. Petersfield Society aims to work with the local authorities, businesses and the local community to be a catalyst to improve the ‘look and feel’ of the commercial centre and to support the businesses there. A clean, tidy town centre with well-maintained business frontages is one that people are going to want to visit and spend time in. Indeed, a town centre that is cared-for, free of litter, and looks prosperous is more likely to attract investment. We want this to be Petersfield.
‘Spruce Up Your Shopfront’ involves ‘volunteer diplomats’ liaising with businesses to encourage them to look after their own shop frontages on an ongoing basis. Small individual actions can add-up to big improvements. ‘Spruce Up Your Shopfront’ aims to help the whole of Petersfield be a more inviting environment to foster a positive economic and social recovery across the town.
We know that ‘Spruce Up Your Shopfront’ has potential to make a difference. Read about some of the businesses who have already engaged and please contact us if you own a business, or would like to be a volunteer diplomat.
Following our request, Cubitt and West, Estate Agents, on the corner of the Square by Rams Walk, have completely refurbished and repainted their double fronted shop front. Their beautiful building once again is a key feature of the Square which looks prosperous and well-loved. In addition, HSBC has weeded and swept its long frontage and has plans to clean the lower stonework where it has become splattered and mouldy over the winter. Again having this fine building in top condition is important, both for their prestiege and to keep the town as an attractive retail destination. Thanks so much to both businesses.
The near end of Swan Street has been looking a little sad recently with the intrusion of the Covid lego bricks and a shop unit being vacant with no tenant We asked Bourne, the Estate Agent next to Oxfam if they could ‘spruce up their shop front’ and to our joy they have given it a thorough repaint and it now looks spectacular. A very gracious email message from their manager made all our voluntary efforts for improving the town feel well worth while. Beamans, an extraordinary Aladdin’s cave of anything you ever needed to buy and couldn’t find, has now been opened in the empty shop unit and with The Frame Shop having washed down its white fascia, this corner of town is looking good again.
If all businesses kept their shop front and pavement as clean as Michael Miller and Partners, Funeral Directors near the war memorial in Petersfield High Street, then the appearance of the town would be hugely improved. They set a great example and ensure that their shop is always attractive. People like to shop in Petersfield, stop for a coffee perhaps, because it’s such a pleasant place, so much nicer than shopping at a bleak industrial park. But if our shops look scruffy and the town down-at-heel and depressed that advantage will quickly be lost.
When our volunteers from the Petersfield Society approach shop owners and ask them to ‘Spruce Up Your Shop Front’ the response is sometimes a little guarded. We understand that employees and owners have a lot of pressure on them at the moment, however it can just take 10 minutes to make some improvements, as this experience shows. We emailed email@example.com ordering forty copies of our standard ‘spruce up’ letter to shops, suggesting they might also themselves like to read it. An email came back within a few minutes saying that the copies were ready for collection. There were roars of laughter when we got to PetaPrint; they were washing their hands having just swept and cleaned their weedy shop front which now looked perfect. It just shows what can be done!
The Petersfield Society volunteers continue to approach business owners to ask them to ‘Spruce Up Your Shop Front’ but there are instances when this is completely unnecessary. In Chapel Street at least three businesses stand out. The frontages of Hector’s Menswear and The Sports Locker always look freshly painted and prosperous and spotlessly clean. It’s so good to have independent shops such as these in the town that are interesting and different and with staff who really care. We appreciate their contribution so much. Across the road Popins Cafe Restaurant is also always clean and enticing; the effort they make with the exterior suggests that hygiene standards inside will be second to none. Chapel Street is quite a challenging place for businesses with blown litter and leaves accumulating at times, though if all could do as well as these three examples the trading environment would be much improved for the benefit of all traders and the town in general.
Petersfield Society volunteers promoting our ‘Spruce Up Your Shop Front’ campaign haven’t needed to approach Joules, the premium lifestyle brand boutique on the corner of the Square by St Peters Road. The whole of the building has recently been repainted and it’s looking superb. Formerly the Market Inn, this is a key historic building in the Square and it’s important that it looks well maintained and prosperous. We wish Joules well in difficult times as a high class clothes shop such as this is precisely what draws shoppers into Petersfield. They are clearly investing in the future of this business which is much appreciated.