With the summer coming to an end I think it’s fair to say that all at the Business Improvement District have had a very enjoyable and successful summer but we are now planning for autumn, winter and, of course, Christmas, writes Mark Cordell, ourburystedmunds chief executive.
Our purpose, as a not-for-profit organisation, is to improve the business environment for all of our businesses, whose total numbers are now approaching 400. We do this by working with other organisations to make the town centre environment as attractive, safe and pleasant as we possibly can and ensuring that people enjoy their visit and want to return again and again. Our role is not to generate profits but to do all we can to encourage visitor numbers to the town centre to increase and this we are doing.
The two major events we organised in town this year, namely the Whitsun Fayre, incorporating a beach, and more recently the Food and Drink Festival were superbly supported with more than 40,000 people in town over the four days. This enabled us to showcase the town to all who visited and this will hopefully lead to return trips for them, their friends and family when they are told how wonderful Bury St Edmunds is.
The town centre has again looked fabulous this year with the wonderful floral displays and the BID pays for the vast majority of these as well as the fabulous Christmas lights.
It’s important that our businesses and the public are fully aware that it is our town centre businesses that pay for all of the above through the BID. Consequently our board of directors have authorised the laying to rest of the BID4Bury brand and we will now be known as ourburystedmunds, which is actually the marketing brand used by the BID for the past two years. It was felt that dual branding was unhelpful and it is so important that brands are clearly recognisable and reflect what they are about in their title.
The BID4Bury brand, beyond a 30-mile radius of Bury, is not totally synonymous with the town. With the BID promoting the town proactively beyond the county boundaries and particularly with an eye on London it was felt that our brand needed to include the full name of our town and hence this change.
As the brand was created in late 2011 there are very little costs involved in taking this step now. We are doing more to promote the brand to visitors to the town and you may have seen the new banners in three of the car parks and the bollard covers at our events which publicise the brand, our website and our free smartphone app.
I had a great time at the Bury Free Press Business Awards last Friday and I would like to congratulate the recipients of our two highly commended customer services awards – Vicki Loader, from Boots, and Sarah Southgate, from Laura Ashley. Additionally very well done to Helen and David, from Dance and Party Crazy, in St John’s Street, who won the BID Customer Service award – thoroughly deserved and illustrates the importance of high quality customer service for our businesses and their customers.
I would also like to say well done to Daryn Reffell, from Denny Brothers, who won the Businessman of the Year award, and Croasdales for being voted the best Independent Business in Bury.