BID Business of The Month

Will you be the next ‘Business of The Month?’

As BID Business of the month the winner has the opportunity to speak at the Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast. The winner is highlighted on our social media channels and newsletter. #ourchelt

August 2018Martin & Co

One of the oldest businesses in Cheltenham, Martin & Co is this month’s BID Business of the Month.  Established in 1806 by Samuel Martin, the jeweller was given the Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria in 1838.

In 1890 George Dimmer acquired the company, which has been in the Dimmer family for five generations. They have been in their current premises on The Promenade since 1841 and, in 1912, became one of the country’s first Limited Companies.

Jonathan Dimmer said: “Within the Cotswolds and the neighbouring  counties there is certainly a strong sense of loyalty to the independent retailer. I’m now fortunate enough to be dealing with the sixth generation of clients!  Cheltenham has really taken off over recent years and become a true destination for weekend shopping by those who live further afield. This is partly due to the great environment and architecture but also it has been encouraged by the increase in boutique hotels, festivals and the vast array of restaurants Cheltenham has to offer.”

Known mostly for their fine jewellery and sought after timepieces, the racing fraternity are more familiar with the Martin & Co craftsmen as the creators of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Since 1935 they have created a new trophy each year.

Sharron Lamanuzzi, who is responsible for sales and visual merchandising, has been with the family business since 1996. She’s keen to see that Martin & Co gets the most out of being part of Cheltenham BID and frequently attends the Promenade Traders meetings wew run. She said: “The BID is a wonderful way for local retailers to get together and share ideas and strategies not only about marketing and promoting our businesses but also to improve the life and feel of the town we love.”

When Sharron heard about the Cheltenham Gift Card, she immediately saw the benefit of being able to accept it.

If you didn’t see the Martin & Co store lit up in magenta during Light Up Cheltenham, you may have seen their entry in the BID’s Festive Façade competition.

In April, we were delighted to announce the winners of the first BID Business Awards and Martin & Co received a Highly Commended award in the Customer Service category.

As BID business of the month, Martin & Co will have the opportunity for a representative to speak at a future Cheltenham Business Forum Big Breakfast.  We’ll be highlighting their business on our social media channels throughout this month.

 

July 2018–  Specsavers

Specsavers is one of the nation’s best-known high street brands and the Cheltenham branch is no exception. Melanie Brackstone who joined the company more than 15 years ago as an optical assistant, is now the Retail Director.

We selected Specsavers Cheltenham as our BID Business of the Month because of their engagement with the local community, charities and schools and their enthusiasm to be involved in many BID projects.  We have just launched a new special offer exclusively for BID businesses and you can find the details below.

Earlier this year, the Cheltenham store took on its fourth Going the Extra Mile (GEM) Project participant.  The GEM Project supports individuals within Gloucestershire who are currently dealing with circumstances that are potentially causing barriers to work and moves these people closer towards education, training, volunteering or work, including self-employment.

The store has also signed up to a Keep Safe Scheme, which aims to support vulnerable adults who may be in town on their own and require some help. They display a badge in the store window to let customers and passers-by know it is a registered safe place. Staff are on hand to offer assistance or telephone the designated emergency contact.

In June, Specsavers Cheltenham was recognised as a Platinum Employer for their commitment to employee engagement and well-being.  Emily was on hand to explain what is means to work for Specsavers when they attended the recent Cheltenham Retail Recruitment Fair, run by the BID, the Job Centre and Cheltenham Borough Council.

 

June 2018Cheltenham Martial Arts

 

Cheltenham Martial Arts have been selected as July’s BID Business of the Month.

Matt Rudman, the owner, was an electrical engineer who had an ambition to teach martial arts.  He began teaching for a Gloucester-based martial arts school and grew the Cheltenham branch into a successful business in its own right, which he bought in 2013.

Since taking on the businesses, Matt has re-branded it, putting the emphasis of what he does on personal development and confidence building. He said: “Martial arts gives people the ability to accomplish goals they never thought they could. I enjoy seeing the positive impact it has members’ lives.”

Many of the staff started off going to classes or taking their children along. Their experiences are varied but all of them, because of what they have learnt through Matt’s guidance, say their lives have dramatically changed for the better.

“If we work together, we can grow together,” says Matt.  To show how vital this ethos is to him, Cheltenham Martial Arts will be hosting a social media course on July 14 from 2pm to 4pm. Getting your show on the road will give a guide to how piggybacking on each other’s social media followers can increase your own business. To find out more and book a place call 01242 894 592.

Today, Cheltenham Martial Arts Centre on Winchcombe Street is a bright, well equipped and safe space for people of all ages and abilities. Offering age specific martial arts classes and fitness kickboxing training, Cheltenham Martial Arts Centre isn’t just about fitness. It’s about tackling bullying, helping people to overcome personal barriers and being well balanced.

It’s also about showing how much fun martial arts can be. They even offer a birthday party package for children – a healthier option than the usual fast food outlet and a film!

Matt believes that it’s important for businesses to work collectively to ensure that the local commercial community thrives. He feels that his business will benefit from being in the BID area. “The events the BID puts on bring people to town and the added hanging baskets will make it even more attractive to visitors,” said Matt.

 

May 2018Monrose Boutique

 

We’re back in Bennington Street this month because there are some truly unique independent business on this street. This time we’re looking at 1950’s fashion with Monrose Boutique who are our BID Business of the month.

Emma Durrant set up her business three years ago. She had a dream to own her own business and share her passion for 1950’s style. So, with just a credit card, she took over 10 Bennington Street. With a lot of hard work and practical support from her husband, (who happens to be a builder), she soon had the shop redecorated and ready for trade.

There is now a whole community of ladies who love the colourful dresses and accessories from Monrose and they are frequently seen at events around town doing the Jive and generally having fun. Emma’s personality shines out in every outfit she personally helps her customers to select.

Emma thinks that, with its wide array of independent businesses, Cheltenham provides a unique shopping experience which attracts visitors from other towns. She says: “Cheltenham is a beautiful town to live in. The festivals, like the recent jazz Festival, the races and the BID events, means there’s always something going on in town.”

A supporter of the BID’s work, Emma is keen to be involved with as many of our projects as possible. At the launch of Beauty Week, Emma transported us back to the ‘50’s with her live demonstrations of ‘back in the day’ hairstyles. Accepting the Cheltenham Gift Card has opened a new audience for her and she hopes to see new and established customers using the card.

She said: “I am very grateful for the support the BID has given to Monrose Boutique. They always give us the opportunity be included in their events, like the live window display which has really helped to raise the profile of the boutique.”  Emma also enjoys the regular interaction she has with the BID Ambassadors.

 

April 2018Smokey Joes

 

A gem of a venue, situated on Bennington Street near The Brewery Quarter, this retro American Diner style bar and restaurant has a rich history as a family-run local business.

Smokey Joe’s was originally run from the family home by the current owner’s grandparents.  In the 1940’s and 50’s it was a popular haunt for American GIs and locals alike, boasting the first juke box in the South West. By the 1960’s the business had expended with a few cafes in Cheltenham.

In 1981 the family bought an old printing works, which is today’s Smokey Joe’s.  A fashionable place for teenagers to gather and play the latest video games in the 1980’s and 90’s, it was where the phenomenon that was Space Invaders had been built in a series of workshops.Owner, Vickie Godding said: “Smokey Joe’s has been in Cheltenham for decades, but our latest incarnation is giving a flavour of the best of retro entertainment in the centre the town.”

Smokey Joe’s was chosen as BID Business on of the month, not only because of its local history, but also because of their support for BID initiatives.  Last year we held a very successful rum tasting evening there to launch Cocktail Week and are delighted that the team have agreed to be a part of this year’s event. Their social media activity is a great example of how an independent business can get their message to new customers and keep loyal visitors up to date.

 

March 2018Hotel Chocolat

 

Hotel Chocolat opened their Cheltenham store on The Promenade in October 2010 and have gone from strength to strength since then.  They are one of only two stores to hold two famous Chocolate Lock-ins a month.

Chantelle Stemp, who joined the business in 2010 as assistant manager, is now the Cheltenham Store Manager and was awarded Hotel Chocolat’s Employee of the Month award in November 2017.  One of her colleagues, who nominated her, said: “She works very, very hard and cares about her team.”

We selected Hotel Chocolat as our BID Business of the month because of Chantelle’s enthusiasm to get involved in our projects.

Working for an international brand sometimes makes it challenging for store managers to take part in things that independent businesses clamour to be a part of, so when Hotel Chocolat agreed to accept the Cheltenham Gift Card, we knew it would be a success.

 

February 2018The Ultimate Party Shop

Sue Clingan opened the family-run business on Regent Street in 1996 with her sister Caroline (pictured below) when they saw a gap in the market to supply party decorations and fancy-dress outfits. Coming from Cheltenham, it made sense for them to open their first shop here.

Sue, who also owns a similar business in Worcester, is a keen supporter of the work BIDs do.  She says: “We feel that although we are an independent business, we are part of a network that can help bring businesses together. The BID enables us to have a voice, keeps us in the loop with upcoming events and encourages interaction between businesses.”

Sue believes that businesses working together make a town stronger.  You will frequently see eye catching balloon displays provided by The Ultimate Party Shop in shop windows and at corporate events in Cheltenham.

 

January 2018CGT Lettings

 

Established in 1987, CGT Lettings in is an independent agency covering the whole of Gloucestershire.  They have more than 40 employees across the county who all helped celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary in November last year.

Paula Baldwin, one of the directors, is also joint chair of the Montpellier Association, a role she shares with Margaret Cavenagh of Neal’s Yard Remedies. The Montpellier Association represents the interests of the traders there, ensuring they have a voice in the town.  They supported our work with the Christmas lights and were delighted with the results.  Paula said: “The lights in Montpellier reflected the elegance of this beautiful independent shopping area.”

With more than 1,300 followers on Facebook, 1,600-plus followers on Twitter and a constantly active Instagram account, this business has no trouble keeping us all updated with their activities and all manner of Cheltenham news.