'More firms needed for fight to save Newport city centre'
10:10am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
NEWPORT Independent Traders group has urged more businesses to join them in their fight to revitalise the city centre after a shocking survey revealed more than a quarter of shops in the area were vacant.
The Argus survey, published on Monday, further highlighted the struggles of the city centre.
The Newport Independent Traders group was set up at the start of this year and is looking at ways to promote their businesses across the city, and to try to turn around the situation highlighted in the survey.
One such scheme has been the creation of a map with details and directions of all the other businesses in the scheme, which will be displayed in members’ businesses.
Temporary chairman of the group Paul Halliday said: “Although national brands have been leaving Newport and the trading situation is still difficult there are independents here who still care deeply about Newport and want to see it succeed. The level of empty shops in the city is obviously disturbing and definitely a reality.
“The big difference between the national chains and the independents is that for the independents this is their home too and not just their business.
“If we can attract more members we are looking at various schemes, including potentially launching a loyalty card scheme which could be used in all the businesses who join them, and things like that.
“We hold regular meetings and any new members are always welcome. At our next meeting Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrot is going to be coming along to listen to how the Welsh Assembly could be helping us, so we are trying to be proactive.”
Paul Cotton, who co-runs coffee shop Brew and is a member of the group, added: “It is easy to see the negatives in Newport at the moment but if people only think ‘well, Newport’s a bit rubbish, I’m going to avoid it’, then nothing will change.
“The whole aim of our group is to try to make people aware, perhaps, of businesses which they didn’t know were here.”
The next meeting of the Independent Traders group will be at Brewcoffee shop in Station St