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, the Cheltenham BID website homepage and in our newsletter.

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.

As BID Business of the month, a representative from Cath Kidston will have the opportunity to speak at the May Cheltenham Business Forum’s BIG Breakfast. We will highlight the store across our social media channels, and they will feature on the home page of our website.

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.

As a representative of a BID Business of the month, Erol will have the opportunity to speak at the April Cheltenham Business Forum’s BIG Breakfast. We will highlight Queens Hotel Cheltenham across our social media channels and they will feature on the home page of our website.

Meet The Board – Helen Howe
Helen Howe runs Lumiere with her husband Jon.

Helen thinks that Cheltenham has an amazing array of independent restaurants. She says: “There are very few towns in the country with the depth, quality and diversity of Cheltenham’s food offerings.”

February 2019Welcome 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.”
As a representative of BID Business of the Month, Cheryl will attend Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast in March. Cheryl is very good at sharing information and images for us to post on social media, so we look forward to more this month.

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.

As BID business of the month, Molton Brown Cheltenham will have the opportunity for a representative to speak at Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast in January.

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.

As BID business of the month, Cosy Club Cheltenham will have the opportunity for a representative to speak at Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast in January.

November 2018 Stagecoach West

All images are copyright Kevin Fern Photography Ltd. For usage rights please contact t: 07597 945453 E: info@kevinfern.co.uk

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.
As BID business of the month, Stagecoach West will have the opportunity for a representative to speak at Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast in December.

October 2018Neals 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.

As BID business of the month, Neal’s Yard Remedies will have the opportunity to speak at Cheltenham Business Forum’s Big Breakfast in November. We’ll be highlighting their products and therapies on our social media channels.

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.