We were very pleased to have the Big Shop officially opened by High Sheriff Andrew Brown and supported by Town Mayor David Ainslie, along with Women In the High Street (WITHS) lead for Sandra Pollock.
The initiative was well received by traders and those who visited Uppingham on the day. From the point of view of WITHS we feel that our objectives were achieved.
These were to promote Uppingham and to raise the profile and awareness of the unique skills, crafts and independent businesses in the Town. This was successful. The feedback from the local traders was that this first Big Shop was a good start and has laid a good foundation for an annual event.
Although the morning saw a relatively good turnout, the afternoon was a little disappointing. This may have been due the weather or maybe Wimbledon. Some feedback around this point was that maybe it was the day chosen. Thursday was chosen to try and lift a quiet day in town.
Sandra Pollock said: "A suggestion is that in future we hold it on a Saturday to allow the whole family to attend. I know my own family would like this as those who were at work on Thursday were disappointed they could not take part. These are all valuable points we can use learn from and improve the initiative for next year. The great thing though is that the Big Shop initiative is now seen as an annual event."
High Sheriff Andrew Brown was impressed with what he saw and full of praise for shops. He took time during his visit to for a perambulation around the town speaking with many of the traders and business owners.
We were also pleased with the number of businesses who took, part many putting on specific activities, workshops on various topics or offering discounts. The Cruise sessions were crowded in the morning, although like many other activities had low turnout in the afternoon. Beer and sausages session good. Jane Lang's workshops and the Garden Centre sessions were good. Broadcasting was good. Press coverage good leading up to the event and there was lots of praise for effort put into marketing and publicity. Violin maker said he had most people through his door ever and even sold an expensive violin.
Uppingham Bags, which was launched on the day, sold-out with rest of range still selling well. Rutland Radio broadcast on the day was excellent according to listeners and we thank all of those visitors who took the time to join in by sharing their views live on the radio. Excellent! Just what the Big Shop is about, everyone getting involved.
And finally, 24 visitors were winners in the Uppingham Town Councils sponsored Receipt Draw which will refund them a total of almost £500 in purchases made on the day. The top individual beneficiary was a visitor from Nassington near Peterborough who will receive a refund of £100 for an item purchased from Gilberts Furniture.
Cllr Dave Ainslie, Mayor of Uppingham said: "A lot of hard work went into organising this event and we are grateful to all those who took part to make the day a success. Hopefully we can build upon this good work to make the event even more successful in future years".
WITHS would like to thank all the other organisers, sponsors, Uppingham business owners and managers, members of the network and the many visitors who took part on the day.
We look forward to another successful Big Shop in 2016.
View some of the pictures taken on the day: