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, the Cheltenham BID website homepage and in our newsletter.
January 2020 – Regency Dry Cleaning
In December 1999, Dave and Zena Dickson were preparing to see in the new millennium as they opened their dry-cleaning business in Grosvenor Terrace.
Today, Regency Dry Cleaning is one of Cheltenham’s most established independent businesses, going from strength to strength by responding to market needs and social trends. Their loyal customers come from Worcester, Evesham, Gloucester and the local area.
With the ever-increasing emphasis on ditching single-use plastics, the couple had a challenge on their hands. Regency Dry Cleaning is now officially a member of the Plastic Free Cheltenham community. They have replaced their thin plastic covers with stylish, reusable cloth covers. The covers double up as a loyalty card. Customers pay a minimal £5.95 per cover, and when they take their items back for dry cleaning in the cover, they get a 10% discount.
Their community focus doesn’t end there. Grosvenor Terrace is, let’s face it, not the prettiest part of town and frequently gets overlooked when it comes to regeneration. Dave and Zena often take the time to weed the pavements and clean up the litter in the area. Graffiti is a big problem in the area and Dave can often be found in the early hours before they open, cleaning the graffiti and picking up the litter which accumulates overnight.
Adding to their services has seen Regency Dry Cleaning expand their customer base. They recently started offering a full laundry service which is proving very popular. Some customers have set up up regular slots to take their duvets and bedding in, picking up one of the reusable cloth laundry bags at the same time.
In its first year, the BID wanted to brighten the area with new Christmas lights. Each year since 2016 Dave has taken on the task of putting the lights up and the power comes from three businesses in Grosvenor Terrace: Zi Bake Shop, Regency Dry Cleaning and Strand Jewellers.
As BID business of the month, Regency Dry Cleaning will have the opportunity to speak at the Cheltenham Business Forum Big Breakfast and will receive enhanced social media coverage.
December 2019 – PDSA Charity Shop Cheltenham
Charity shops play a vital role in keeping our High Streets alive and are, for many charities, a major source of income. For some volunteers, they can be an essential connection with other people. The PDSA shop on High Street is no exception.
Shop Manager, Dolly Neal, has managed charity shops for more than 15 years. She knows how competitive the market is. She says: ”Charity shops are really no different to any other retailer, we have to understand the market and work to attract people to our store.”
Dolly has one assistant manager and 27 volunteers, one of whom makes a 55-mile round trip, just so she can work in the Cheltenham shop. Julie, another volunteer at the shop, said: ”I could work in one of the charity shops where I live but I enjoy coming to Cheltenham. There’s a lovely atmosphere.”
The BID has put Christmas lights on the Strand end of High Street and would not have been able to do this without the support of Dolly and the PDSA. When we asked for their help in providing a power source for the ceiling of lights, Dolly was delighted and only too happy to help if it meant being lit up for Christmas.
Dolly and her team of volunteers are community minded and make a point of supporting the businesses on their doorstep. They took part in the Charity DJ Clash early in the year, which the BID supported.
PDSA Cheltenham take every opportunity to make the most of local and national events and holidays. Every year in March their window display has a decidedly ‘horsey’ theme to celebrate The Festival™.
As part of the national PDSA centenary cycle challenge, they held a fun-filled open day with loads of activities and refreshments for shoppers on High Stree who had the opportunity to join PDSA Director of Human & Corporate Resources, Karen Hailes, by cycling a mile alongside her on an exercise bike.
November 2019 – Laura Leigh Hair & Beauy
Laura Leigh set up her business in 2005. Over the next ten years the business continued to expand and in 2015 Laura moved her business into the stylish salon they now occupy in Clarence Street. There is now a team of more than 20 staff, many of whom started their training with the business and are now award-winning stylists.
In the Gloucestershire Business Awards 2016, Laura won the Young Business Person of the Year. The accolades don’t stop there. The salon was voted Cheltenham’s number one luxury hair and beauty salon in the SoGlos Awards and was given a Highly Commended at the BID Awards in 2017.
With a loyal and ever-expanding client base, the salon offers the latest in beauty treatments and their contribution to the industry has been recognised by top brands like L’Oreal, essie, Kerastase and HD Brows.
Laura’s passion for what she does spills over into every aspect of the business, including the development of her team. Natalie Ursell, who began her training at Laura Leigh and is now Senior Stylist, has progressed her career and was recently awarded the L’Oreal Colour Trophy for Best in the Region with her men’s image model.
A strong supporter of the BID, Laura is always eager to get involved with the BID’s activities. She was a vital member of the Cheltenham Beauty Week project team and helped to bring that exclusive event to fruition in 2018.
Laura recognises the value of working with other businesses to create unique customer experiences and she believes that sharing client bases is a win, win situation. A great example of this is a masterclass in collaboration with Charlotte Tilbury and Molton Brown, held at The Clarence Social in November 2019.
October 2019 – The Find
The aptly named ‘The Find’ is our October BID Business of the month.
In November 2017, David Orme, owner of this multi-award-winning coffee house and restaurant saw his hard work come to fruition. From planning applications to change the use of the property, to sourcing the finest beans and highest quality local produce, David’s desire was to make sure The Find would offer customers an experience they wanted to enjoy time and time again.
Winner of the SoGlos Café of the Year two years in a row, finalists in the 2018 BID Awards and 2019 Muddy Stilettos awards, it’s not hard to see why The Find is as popular as it is.
You will often see The Find’s distinctive branding at local events. David thinks it’s important to join in with community activities. Rather than seeing events as competition, he seeks out the chance to trade at events like the Midsummer Fiesta. The Find was part of the first Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival, hosts live sessions during the Jazz Festival and was one of the …around town Science Festival venues.
David didn’t hold back when we asked for volunteers to help with the Regent Street clean up. He got stuck-in with the hard graft of clearing the drainage channels outside Regent Arcade. Not only that, but he made sure all the volunteers were treated to The Find’s superb coffee and some of the best brownies in town. On the day, David said: “It’s great to see so many people from local businesses coming together and taking a pride in their surroundings.”
September 2019 – Warhammer Cheltenham
Warhammer Cheltenham (formerly Games Workshop) recently celebrated its seventh anniversary. Will Rawlins has been the store manager for three years and feels lucky to be in the position.
Warhammer is a table top miniature wargame that simulates battles between terrestrial armies from different factions. Created in 1983, the game continues to grow in popularity and attracts people of all ages.
Cheltenham has an active Warhammer community and the store on Pittville Street frequently holds games nights and hobby sessions, bringing people to Cheltenham from far and wide. Will Rawlins, the store manager, said: “Even when people are on holiday in Gloucestershire, they pop into town to come to the shop.”
The store stocks the full range of characters and everything gamers need to build their battlefields and family and friends can often be found there enjoying time together. They even offer free beginners’ sessions to help new gamers paint their characters and build their skills.
Will was enthusiastic about the Hidden Cheltenham trails and kindly gave the BID Age of Sigmar characters to put into every goodie bag given out. Not only that, but once people had their character, they could go to a free painting workshop to bring their character to life.
Will sees working with other local businesses as a way of introducing like-minded people to new products and experiences. People from both Incom Gaming and Warhammer Cheltenham can often be seen battling on the tables.
August 2019 – Lakeland
If you love your home, the chances are you’ve been into Lakeland Cheltenham, so you’ll understand why we’ve chosen them as this month’s BID Business of the Month.
With the array of professional cookware, innovative cleaning and storage products, quirky gadgets and essential electrical items, Lakeland has a faithful customer base who come from all over the Cotswolds and beyond, returning time and time again.
Helen White, Store Manager, takes every opportunity to get involved in events around the town. She regularly attends the Prom Traders meetings and frequently brings along a sample of Lakeland’s most recent promotion.
When the BID approached Helen to see if Lakeland could be involved with the Hidden Cheltenham Summer Trail, she immediately began looking at an innovative way to engage the youngsters. She came up with an idea to get children creative – and a way to get parents shopping. She said: “The summer trail has been great for us. Whilst the children make their icing bees, the parents are browsing and buying. I’m so pleased the BID asked us to be involved.”
The BID is always happy to share Lakeland Cheltenham’s social media posts and they make it very easy for us by tagging us in their posts. They’re also good at sharing our events on their social media page, linking them with their promotions. Helen always finds a way to make the most of the BID’s events, whether it’s promoting cocktail shakers and glasses during Cheltenham Cocktail Week or bunny shaped cake moulds during the Easter Hidden Trail.
Lakeland Cheltenham accepts the Cheltenham Gift Card and has been featured in some of our promotional material, helping to spread the word and encourage people to #SpendInCheltenham.
July 2019 – The Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse opened in February 2018 after Brunning and Price took over the historic 19th Century building. They put a lot of work into researching its history and uncovered and restored some of the original features, bringing it back to life.
For the past two years, the BID has been fortunate enough to be able to hold the Cotswold Life BID Business Awards in what was the actual courtroom.
Dale Allison joined the team at The Old Courthouse as General Manager in July 2018 and was delighted that the pub had been chosen as BID Business of the Month. He is always keen to get involved with the BID’s activities and during this year’s Cheltenham Cocktail Week they created three aptly named cocktails for the occasion.
Pubs have traditionally been at the centre of the community and The Old Courthouse is no exception. They work with their neighbours to bring everyone together, featuring Kojin, a specialty gin developed by Koj; and offer the staff and cast from the Everyman Theatre a 10% discount. Their community spirit extends beyond their customers and neighbours; there are frequent charity quiz nights to support local charities from animal shelters to hospices.
Whatever is going on in Cheltenham, The Old Courthouse joins in. They had a great line-up of live acts during the Jazz Festival and some science buskers during the Science Festival, all free to attend.
Dale has been in the hospitality industry for many years and worked in a variety of different locations.
June 2019 – Hollywood Bowl
Hollywood Bowl, the UK’s largest 10-pin bowling company, opened their Cheltenham branch in November 2014. Based at The Brewery Quarter, they are a true family attraction providing good value entertainment, food and drink for people of all ages and abilities.
The family ethic extends beyond the customer experience. The team at Hollywood Bowl Cheltenham are always keen to support the local business community, not just in The Brewery Quarter but across the town.
When the BID approached Dean Botham, the venue’s manager, to see if they would be willing to be one of the businesses on the Hidden Cheltenham Easter Trail, he immediately agreed and offered to give every child collecting a clue, a free game. We asked if they would like to be part of the summer trail and Dean said: “We would love to get involved. The Easter treasure hunt was great fun!”
For the first time we invited all bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants to be part of Cheltenham Cocktail Week. Hollywood Bowl offered three different £6 cocktails to customers and were very helpful in promoting their event and sharing social media posts for all the participating venues.
Demelsa Coleman, Marketing Manager at The Brewery Quarter said: “I love working with the Hollywood Bowl team. They’re always super keen to get involved in any of The Brewery Quarter’s activity, from the Jazz Festival to our Summer Jam, Easter Treasure Hunt and playing host to various events.”
The BID Ambassadors enjoy visiting the team at Hollywood Bowl because they are always made to feel welcome and the team are genuinely interested in hearing about what is happening around Cheltenham.
May 2019 – The Square Pillow
With its unmistakable pink façade and pink and white awning, The Square Pillow has been part of the community in Montpellier for three decades.
In 1988 Suzanne Langley-Sowter opened a business which has endured the test of time and all the changes that the retail sector has seen during the past 30 years. This is in no small way due to the relationships Suzanne has built with her customers and suppliers alike.
Suzanne’s ethos is ‘only stunning will do’ and this is reflected in the suppliers she chooses and underpins the loyal customer base she has built up. The Square Pillow is the only stockist in the UK of some highly respected luxury European brands of bed and bath linen, nightwear and robes, bringing people from around the country to Cheltenham to shop there.
They support the BID’s projects, like BID in Bloom and the social media training and are a strong advocate for our Tidy Up Cheltenham Campaign.
The shop always looks attractive and Suzanne takes pride in maintaining the inside as well as the outside, updating it with regular coats of paint to keep it looking fresh, keeping the awning clean and bright. The summer window displays are cool and inviting and their Festive Façade entry, with its giant pink baubles brought some sparkle to Christmas shopping.
Suzanne always welcomes the BID ambassadors when they visit. She says: “The team are always very cheerful, and I enjoy our chats, so it’s not a hardship to take a moment and catch up on Montpellier and Cheltenham business with them.”
April 2019 – Cath Kidston
Synonymous with pretty, fresh designs, Cath Kidston is a quintessentially British brand and we’re fortunate to have had a branch in Cheltenham since 2007. Whilst other big-name brands have come and gone, Cath Kidston has endured and some of the team have worked in the store on The Promenade for more than 10 years.
Always keen to be part of the town, even before the BID was formed, representatives from Cath Kidston have attended the Promenade Traders’ meetings to share ideas and raise important matters. They help us by reporting issues such as burst water pipes, power cuts, incidents of begging and anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping in Post Office Lane.
Whenever one of the BID team approaches Becky Fullalove, the current store manager, offering her the chance for the store to be involved in our projects, she goes the extra mile to find a way to participate. Cath Kidston was amongst the first batch of businesses to sign up for the Cheltenham Gift Card.
Although, like most national brands, they have a prescriptive display code, the team at the Cheltenham store managed to get creative and were voted amongst the top 10 in the first ‘Festive Façade’ competition.
When we decided to launch the Hidden Cheltenham Easter Trail, we looked for businesses who would be receptive to holding the secret letters, who didn’t already have a plaque outside their business and would be easily recognised by local and international visitors. So, we thought Cath Kidston would be a great place for people to pop in and collet a clue for the trail.
March 2019 –Queens Hotel- MGallery by Sofitel
Queens Hotel Cheltenham has been an iconic landmark in Cheltenham since 1838 and is one of the oldest purpose-built hotels in Europe. Built on the site of one of the original spas, Sherborne Spa, the hotel is fashioned in the style of the Temple of Jupiter. It is named in honour of Queen Victoria, whose coronation fell in the year the hotel was opened.
Today, it is part of the Accor Group and branded as an MGallery by Sofitel, which are storied boutique hotels. It still retains many of its original features, including the wallpaper designed by Pugin.
With many top-class hotels on the outskirts of town, The Queens plays an important role in bringing tourists to the centre of Cheltenham and many visitors return regularly.
Erol Uray, General Manager, is always eager to help the BID and nothing is too much trouble. When we needed somewhere for the crew to assemble the White Witch for the Christmas parade, we were given space in the hotel’s parking area.
Queens Hotel Cheltenham looked stunning during the first Light Up Cheltenham. So, when we were looking for an image for the front of the new map and guide, we didn’t have to look far.
When we asked if we could light up the hotel again, Erol agreed straight away. He said: “The Queens Hotel is a beacon of light for Cheltenham and the light festival will enhance that even more.” The team at Queens Hotel Cheltenham made it really easy for the contractors to do the installation.
On hearing the news that ‘The Queens’ had been selected as BID business of the month, Erol said: “This is absolutely fantastic, I am thrilled to hear that and am always happy to help and be involved with the BID’s activities”. He is looking forward to being part of Cheltenham Cocktail Week 2019. It will be three out three for them and we’re excited to hear what their plans are this year.
February 2019 – Welcome Gym
Cheryl Parker, General Manager of Welcome Gym, was thrilled to be given the news that they had been selected as BID Business of the Month. She said: “We really appreciate the work the BID does and support their activities where we can, so we are very excited to get this recognition.”
Welcome Gym is very much a part of the local community, creating partnerships with other BID businesses, the council, charities and the local colleges and universities.
They work with YMCA Apprenticeships to train young people and bring them into the industry.
They have worked with Cheltenham Borough Council to come up with a scheme so that members can have free parking during their gym session. Their members get a discount at Tanique and, most recently, they are offering one month’s free membership if you collect a voucher when you ride on the Observation Wheel.
Each winter, the staff and members of Welcome Gym collect clothes, food and toiletries for the homeless and vulnerable. They have done this for St Vincent & St George’s Centre, Trinity Church and the Cornerstone Community Centre in Whaddon.
They hope to link up with a local mental health service as fitness and well-being play such an important part in helping overcome these issues.
The gym is getting involved with Cheltenham Wellbeing Festival this year and has recently had a Public Access Defibrillator installed.
The area is frequently targeted with graffiti and there’s often a lot of litter left near their entrance. Cheryl and her team just get on and clean it up.
Beside all the work they do with the town, the gym’s message is a simple one “friendly fitness”. Cheryl says: “It’s not just a tag line, every single one of my team works hard to ensure members feel comfortable walking through our doors.”
January 2019 – Molton Brown
Molton Brown has been a favourite on The Promenade since it opened its doors in October 2007. Originally situated where you will now find Oliver Bonas, they moved to their current location on the corner of Ormond Place and The Promenade, opposite Beards, in 2017.
Alison Jacobson joined Molton Brown in 2014 and in 2017 she was promoted to Store Manager.
The Cheltenham store is one of the highest performing branches. This is in no small way due to Alison’s enthusiasm and innovation. It is a centre of excellence for the Brand and all the new Management attend their induction training at this store with Alison and her team.
Alison is always looking at different ways to bring new customers to the shop. She likes to collaborate with local independent retailers with a similar customer demographic and frequently works with other BID businesses to hold special events. Partnerships with Laura Leigh Hairdressing, Beards, The Find and Lush-Stuff have all proved very popular, increasing the shop’s Events sales by 50% in 2017 vs the previous year and 36% in 2018 vs 2017. This has enabled the store to deliver 7% growth year on year since 2016.
Alison thinks these collaborative events are the way forward to keep the high street alive. With such fierce competition with online orders, customers will visit stores, and keep returning, if they are given a good experience. This enables stores to deliver the growth and results she has seen. She says: “It is nice to give independent retailers a Promenade location to help support increased traffic into their businesses.”
In the first BID Business Awards, held in 2017, Alison was nominated as Retail Manager of the Year. Up against some tough competition from national and independent retailers, Alison’s ability to create events and promotions around local interest stood out.
We are delighted to have Molton Brown as the first national business joining Cheltenham’s Boutique Sale this year. Now in its third year, this event provides the perfect setting for businesses to share their customer base with each other. When Alison was offered the opportunity to bring some of Molton Brown’s luxury products to the event, she didn’t hesitate, saying: “I would love to be involved in such an event and thank you for thinking of us as a Brand to support such an event.”
Alison attends the regular Prom Traders meetings and always keeps the BID team up to date with her plans, helping us share them on social media.
December 2018 – Cosy Club
The Cosy Club has West Country roots. The first Cosy Club opened its doors on 10 September 2010 in Taunton. Eight years earlier, three friends from Bristol had formed Loungers, from which the idea of The Cosy Club was born. Another eight years on and there are 23 Cosy Clubs around the country.
Since they first set eyes on their premises in The Brewery Quarter, Cosy Club Cheltenham has been actively engaged with the BID. They let us know they were coming, they gave us their opening date, they came to see what the BID does and how they could work with us.
When their big opening day came in March 2017, they invited hundreds of people from local businesses to celebrate with them. From their neighbours in The Brewery Quarter to owners of independent restaurants, everyone was made to feel welcome.
Sharing, commenting, liking and mentioning @CheltenhamBID, #OurChelt and @VisitCheltenham means more people get to know about their ‘Bountiful Brunches’. They even share information about events happening in Montpellier.
As a BID business, Cosy Club has taken full advantage of the special Marketing Cheltenham rates and their marketing manager, Glenda Barber, makes sure that the Visit Cheltenham team always has the content they need to keep us all up to date with their latest offers.
When we launched the Cheltenham Gift Card, the team immediately saw the benefit and were among the first tranche of businesses to sign up.
Working with The Festivals to make the …around town events a success relies on businesses getting involved and hosting artists. Thanks to Cosy Club Cheltenham, we were able to add another venue to the list this year.
November 2018 – Stagecoach West
A big part of being a BID business is how you work with other BID businesses and the impact your operations have on the town overall. Stagecoach West has an enormous influence on the success of Cheltenham, which is why we have made them November’s BID Business of the Month.
In our business plan we said we would:
Negotiate reduced bus fares and parking charges and
Link with public transport operators to provide better services at key times
Thanks to Rupert Cox, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, we have been able to achieve this.
The discounted travel scheme is exclusive to employees of BID businesses and was launched in September 2016. There are now more than 80 businesses taking advantage of the programme with more than 1,000 tickets having been sold. Rupert said: “Stagecoach is firmly part of the local community and the relationship with Cheltenham BID has been tremendous. It is vital that the town has an effective, environmentally friendly and affordable bus service. Through our own initiatives and by working together with Cheltenham BID we really are getting Cheltenham moving.”
The BID helped Stagecoach West launch the new Arle Court Park and Ride service, which they took over in May this year, with their 93 and 94 regular services. Since they took over, there has been an increase in the number of people using the Park and Ride and visitors to the town are being encouraged to utilise the service.
Whilst other towns are seeing a decrease in the number of people using public transport, Cheltenham is bucking the trend. During September the number of people using Stagecoach West buses in the town increased by 2%, with non-concessionary passenger journeys up by more than 3%. This translates into about 4,000 extra bus trips being made every week.
With the busy Christmas shopping period coming up, the operations team at Stagecoach have helped to ensure that there will be additional services on Thursday evenings, making it easier for those working late to continue to use the Park and Ride services.
As well as supporting the BID, Stagecoach West has a reputation for going the extra mile for their passengers. No matter what the weather, they manage to keep the majority of their services running, keeping us all updated with regular social media activity.
October 2018 – Neals Yard Cheltenham
Located in Montpellier since 1999, Neal’s Yard Remedies Cheltenham has been selected as the October BID Business of the Month.
Margaret Cavenagh and Sarah Proud are joint directors. Margaret is also joint chair of the Montpellier Association. She said about having a business in Montpellier: “We’re a close-knit community of independent businesses. It’s like being in a friendly village, we socialise as well as work well together.”
A supporter of the BID from the outset, Margaret has been enthusiastic about getting involved in BID initiatives. They were one of the first businesses to sign up to accept the Cheltenham Gift Card and welcomed the savings they made through the Group Purchasing scheme we run in association with Meercat.
As well as the huge range of ethical, natural and organic skincare and well-being products they are so well known for, customers also visit Neal’s Yard for their therapy rooms. Margaret said: “Most of our customers have been coming to us for years.They have become friends”.
The shop front in Montpellier is always attractive but it took on a special appeal during the Tour of Britain, when one the ‘Green Bikes’ was on display and again when they took part in the BID’s ‘Festive Façade’ competition. The BID in Bloom flowers have been brightening up the outside of the shop all summer long.
An obvious choice for Cheltenham Beauty Week, Neal’s Yard offered customers, old and new, free treatments. Being active on social media, they did a great job of sharing all the events. In fact, we really like the way they share posts for other businesses and frequently tag their neighbours and the BID.
August 2018 – Martin & 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.
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 2018 – Cheltenham 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 2018 – Monrose 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 2018 – Smokey 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 2018 –Hotel 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 2018 –The 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 2018 – CGT 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.