WITH two more shops set to close in Pocklington, a local shopkeeper has come up with his latest plan to help turn traders’ fortunes around.
Guy Scott of Scott’s fishmongers on Market Street in Pocklington wants to make a light-hearted brochure about independent businesses in the town to encourage people to shop locally.
His idea comes at a time when sports goods shop, Balls ‘n’ All, on Market Street, and furniture store Ivy House, on Market Place, are set to close.
Mr Scott’s plan is to produce three brochures with each one including details about 20 different independent shops in Pocklington in an effort to personalise shopkeepers and make people want to use their local shops.
The aim is to bring out one brochure every three months which will contain information about the shopkeepers themselves, such as what they do, when they started, and what they would do if they did not work at that shop. There will also be quirky details like who is the most famous person they have served.
Mr Scott has been leading a campaign to kickstart traders’ fortunes and came up with the idea of a brochure after seeing a similar scheme in the market town of Masham in North Yorkshire.
Speaking about the Masham brochure, Mr Scott said: “When you read it ,it makes you smile. Everything you read in here makes you want to go to Masham and meet these people. It really does have that effect.”
Mr Scott believes it is important for shopkeepers to be personal with customers which is why he wants to make a brochure.
He said: “I’ve been in Pocklington 10 years and I’m struggling like mad. The only reason I think I’ve kept going is because of me and being personal with my customers.
“Customers do become friends and that’s why it works. I think more shops in Pocklington need to show a bit more about themselves to the customers instead of just a blank face and this will actually do that.”
Mr Scott’s shop is one of many in the town that are struggling to stay open.
Last year he launched a campaign to improve the situation by handing out posters to shopkeepers to put in their windows asking people to use local shops or lose them.
He then urged traders to hold a monthly discount day after his takings quintupled during a trial run.
More recently he launched an online forum for Pocklington traders to interact and share ideas about ways to increase trade.
Mr Scott feels the campaign has helped his business slightly by attracting more customers but not enough to make up for the trade he has lost from local pubs.
He said: “I think Pocklington, same as everywhere, is dying. We’re struggling. I think that’s down to pub trade, which has died completely. The pubs are not ordering food off anybody and the fish trade has died with that. That’s where my bread and butter money has been coming from.
“My shop personally, because of the local campaign, there has been a slight increase. I do see more customers now but for the extra so many I get it hasn’t compensated for it.”
Mr Scott is hoping to get funding from Pocklington Town Council to pay for the first set of brochures and hopes the shops will be able to pay for the next two brochures.
To begin with, the brochures will be distributed to shops in Pocklington for them to give out to customers.
Then, in the summer time, Mr Scott hopes to send out brochures to places more widespread including pubs, and restaurants, B&Bs, travel information centres and caravan sites.