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Retail guru comes to the aid of Washington shops

Coun Bernie Scaplehorn (right) on Front Street, Concord, with Coun Jill Fletcher, and Front Street traders Ron Falkner, Carl Sacco, Jan Stubbs, Robyn Stubbs and John Buck.

Coun Bernie Scaplehorn (right) on Front Street, Concord, with Coun Jill Fletcher, and Front Street traders Ron Falkner, Carl Sacco, Jan Stubbs, Robyn Stubbs and John Buck.

TRADERS in Washington are hoping a £15,000 initiative will help them do the business.

Shops and other businesses operating along Concord’s Front Street incline will benefit from a cash pot set aside to help them develop.

It will pay for a retail guru to advise them on how to trade more effectively and drum up custom.

A new traders’ association will also be set up, and improved advertisement promotion of the businesses is to be undertaken.

It is hoped the scheme will tempt potential customers reluctant to venture beyond the shops at the bottom of their bank to look further afield.

Ron Falkner, 58, owner of the Randoms gift emporium, said: “The main issue for me is the parking as it limits footfall. We are also trying to get the traffic turned around as it currently encourages shoppers to go to the other part of Concord.

“The local councillors have been very supportive and have acted and listened to our concerns very quickly.”

Washington West councillor Bernie Scaplehorn, also chairman of Sunderland City Council’s Washington area committee, said: “The main Galleries shopping centre is doing well, but there is some concern about other places.

“Washington still has independent traders who need support.

“These traders are saying that shoppers are not going to the top half of Concord as often as they would like. We need this to change.”

A budget of £10,000 for business support has been put in place by the council, and a kitty of £5,000, made up of 20 grants of £250, has also been approved.

 

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