2019 is likely to see town centres face more challenges in the face of the growth of the internet, and decline of traditional retail with a number of household names looking at reducing outlets.
Wrexham is showing some signs of improvement now that Ty Pawb – Arts, Market and Community hub, has become an established part of the town centre and the redevelopment of Henblas Street is well under way, including the soon to be occupation of the old BHS by a national retailer.
The number and variety of events held in the town centre in 2018 have proved to be a huge success and a great season of events is planned for 2019.
However, significant challenges lie ahead. Every time a major retailer or anchor store leaves a town, the footfall they bring reduces and this adversely impacts independent traders and market stall holders.
What can we as local people and business do to help the situation ?
For Wrexham to truly thrive again we believe the key is helping to grow the small local businesses in the town – otherwise known as the independent traders. Small business are the heart and soul of our town, and streets such as Chester Street, Charles Street, York Street, Henblas Street, Bank Street are thriving hubs for independent traders. Even King Street is starting to regenerate itself with independent traders. The vast majority of small retail outlets in the town centre are occupied. It is the larger vacant premises with significant rents and business rates that are the real challenge.
We know of a number of independent businesses that are ready to make the next step to larger premises, leaving behind their smaller units for other independents. This next step will not be easy but with the correct public sector support it can happen .
So what we can all do to help , is use local business as much as possible. Buy local. We are not saying turn your backs on the internet or supermarkets, but try and use local shops more often, everything in moderation. This year we will really be pushing the £10 challenge.