Marlborough’s hard hit shops fight back with a town hall fashion show
Marlborough’s criticised high profile shops in the High Street are fighting back against the recession as companies across the country report consumer spending rapidly declining.
Under the umbrella of the town’s Chamber of Commerce, they are now organising late night shopping events in the run up to Christmas.
And they are staging a splendid fun fashion show at the town hall in aid of charity in November.
This follows the critical blast retailers received from new Chamber president Paul Shimell after two volunteer Waitrose staff found a pathetic response when they personally delivered survey leaflets to 180 shops and businesses.
From a handful of initial replies the Chamber now has more than 80. And one of them, Joules, has been prompted to team up with other fashion stores to create a charity catwalk evening in the town hall, scheduled for November 3.
The initiative for this has come from 28-year-old Effie Robins (pictured), manager of the Joules store in the High Street for the past two years.
“This is not just about Joules, it’s about the whole town and a wonderful chance for others to play a part as well,” she told Marlborough News Online. “I love fashion – that’s why I work in a fashion store – and I thought it would be fun for everybody and something for all the shops to become involved with.”
Her early contact with Paul Shimell created an immediate buzz which has resulted in almost 20 stores deciding to play a role. “So I was surprised and delighted by the positive reaction,” said Effie.
“I talked about staging a fashion show with Paul and it was virtually organised within a couple of days. The response has been excellent. And any money raised fashion show is go to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.”
Paul Shimell is equally pleased that traders are responding to his initiative. “The headlines across the country may be grim, but Marlborough is fighting back and we’re going to take the recession head on,” he told Marlborough News Online.
“Some 80 businesses, mainly retail, have now responded to the survey we took round to a total of 180 shops and businesses and it has shown that there is a willingness to work together to keep Marlborough on the tourist map.”
“Now we need to build on this co-operation, get more people to join the Chamber, and organise other projects that will beat the drum for Marlborough.”
A possible 10 fashion stores will be showing their latest wares at the fashion show, Jigsaw, the latest to open in Marlborough, among them. There will be other stores setting up stands and companies like Waitrose will be providing a food gallery and others offering flowers and, yes, Specsavers spectacles too.
Effie Robins added: “I’m very excited. The fashion show event is going to be great, really great. I realised that if I didn’t step up to the stand and organise it, then there wasn’t going to be anything I could become involved in, nothing to boost Marlborough.”