8 out of 10 consumers prefer independent retailers

A recent survey by Liberis, a UK alternative finance provider, reveals that 8 out of 10 consumers plan to use independent businesses in preference to larger businesses this year.

The survey was commissioned by Liberis to discover current consumer attitudes towards small businesses.

The data further revealed that 65% were aware that using a smaller provider can be more expensive, but responses suggested that the benefits of doing so outweighed the increased costs as 48% still wanted to boost the local economy and support their community.

Convenience and leisure are the main reasons why consumers choose a small business over a larger retailer

58% of respondents said they use a grocery and convenience store the most, with the older generation, 55 – 64 year olds, selecting this as their most used type of independent store.

Clothing, jewellery, books, music and gift retailers were the second most utilised businesses at 45%, followed by cafes, bars, pubs and eateries at 44%, suggesting that consumers spend their disposable income at smaller, leisure focused establishments.

The primary reason for shopping small was due to convenience, suggesting that locality is still advantageous for many purchases.

However, almost 50% of those polled said that they shop small to support independent establishments, indicating that this plays an important role in purchasing decisions.

Friendly and personalised service makes ‘small’ successful

51% of those polled said there is a noticeable difference between the quality of customer service offered in small businesses compared to larger stores.

One respondent said “small stores seem more genuine and go out their way to help you” and another said at “smaller stores the service is more personal”,  suggesting that in order to be competitive against bigger brands, your business must continue to provide a memorable and tailored customer service.

Limited product selection and price are a challenge for small businesses

50% of consumers said that a ’limited product range’ selection is the number one drawback to using a small business. Almost half (48%) said that smaller stores tend to be more expensive, which was their second highest concern.

Very few people stated brand penetration (e.g. online offering, household name and peer recommendations) as an influential factor in their decision to support a small business, where historically, being a household name has gone in a larger brand’s favour.

However, when asked why consumers shop at larger stores, price was the number reason at 47%. It was the 65+ age bracket that chose price as their main reason to shop at bigger businesses, which indicates that this age group keep tighter control over their finances than other age groups.

“A more varied marketplace for consumers is dependent on the UK’s small business sector, having another major chain retailer doesn’t increase choice, in fact it reduces the choice. Liberis support local high streets, domestic hospitality, entrepreneurs and small scale industries here in the UK and in turn they all contribute significantly to the overall economy. Our findings show that consumers share the importance of growing this sector and the value that it brings everyone.”

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What a year for Cranleigh!

50 members of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce and special guests attended our annual dinner at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club yesterday evening.

Our speaker was the incredible Shaun Parry-Jones who shared the story of his life-changing rugby accident and inspirational journey since.

More photos can be found on the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page.

Before dinner, Chamber president Richard Graham delivered his report at the annual general meeting.

A second successful year

He reflected on a second successful year for the current committee of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, and thanked local businesses for supporting the reformed Chamber.

Membership now stands at a record 139 businesses.

It has been a busy year of events, lobbying, influencing, campaigning and partnering, to make sure Cranleigh is the very best place to live, work and play.

During the past year we have hosted seven popular networking breakfasts, one BBQ and also an evening event at Rudgwick Brickworks. Some hardy individuals even managed to cycle there and back!

Our speakers this year have been interesting and varied, covering a variety of topics from cheese making to cyber security, living longer to the cycling revolution that has hit Cranleigh.

Brexit debates

We held two Brexit debates in May and June last year, which were both extremely well attended as well as lively!

One big focus for the Chamber was customer service, with the Up Your Game programme of mystery shopping assessing what businesses are doing well, what they can do better and what they can learn from each other.

Once again we worked closely with Cranleigh Arts Centre, staging a second excellent Food & Music Festival on a very sunny day in late September.

Rain for the Christmas Lights

The Christmas Lights event in November was less sunny! The poor weather not only put a dampener on the evening but caused a power outage in the square just as the entertainment programme was about to start!

Nevertheless, the crowds were patient and stayed to watch the Christmas Lights being switched on.

It costs the Chamber over £12,000 a year to repair, buy replacements and erect the Christmas Lights, all of which is raised by the local business community. Unlike other local towns, there is no public funding for the Christmas Lights in Cranleigh.

Richard thanked the Christmas Lights team for their hard work – Roger, Martin, Julie and Rosemary. He also thanked the volunteers who got very wet helping Rosemary stop and redirect the traffic during the High Street road closure that evening.

BIG Awards

The second Business, Innovation & Growth (BIG) Awards were held in January, thanks to sponsorship from Alan Young of Surrey County Council, Dunsfold Park and other local businesses.

Once again, we celebrated small and large business achievements and were delighted to award the winner of the 5 Employees & Over Award to Idyllic Beauty & Day Spa, and the 5 Employees & Over Award to Atrainability.

We are planning to change the timing of the Cranleigh BIG Awards in 2018 to avoid the Christmas period altogether, giving entrants more time to prepare their winning entries and the organising team more time to plan the event itself.

Blooming Cranleigh

Cranleigh in Bloom, led by Martin Bamford, excelled itself last year by winning not only a Gold Award but also the Best Town Award at the South & South East in Bloom Awards 2016.

Cranleigh was truly exceptionally attractive in 2016 and indeed continues to be so in Spring with the field of crocuses on the Common, the cleaning up of local ponds and the vibrant displays of tulips, pansies and other spring flowers.

Lobbying and influencing

An important role for any Chamber of Commerce is to lobby and influence the public sector. We have really got into our stride during the past twelve months.

Cranleigh Chamber fought hard to try and retain Hewitts Industrial Estate as employment land. We wrote an economic justification paper for the Planning Inspector and spoke at the appeal.

However, the appeal was lost because Waverley Borough Council does not have a Local Plan in place. We are now desperately short of employment space in Cranleigh as a result.

Downs Link proposals

Many proposals have been made over the year for the Downs Link. Even as a leisure and commuter track, the path is not really fit for purpose.

We commissioned Sustrans to carry out a corridor assessment for us, including a recommendation for improving the path to a quality to take bicycles, walkers and even wheelchairs.

Once again, local businesses put their hands in their pockets to pay for the assessment, which has recently been received by the Chamber – more news on this very soon!

Car parking in Cranleigh

Committe member and vice president Bob Bayley has campaigned tirelessly with Waverley Borough Council to introduce a car parking system which will accept debit and credit cards. This new system will allow visitors and shoppers to relax and spend more time in Cranleigh.

Our experience in other towns which use this ‘check in, check out’ car parking system demonstrates income to the local authority increases due to longer stays. The upgraded machines are now in place and we expect the system to be activated within the next fortnight or so.

Unfortunately, the Chamber was unable to stop Waverley Borough Council from increasing car parking charges to 80p an hour. Now that the government is reducing financial support for local authorities, before entirely removing it in 2020, Waverley Borough Council (like others) will be doing everything it can to find other sources of funding.

We wrote a detailed economic paper in response to Waverley Borough Council’s request to refresh their own economic strategy. They were both pleased and surprised by the professional content of the paper, and both Richard and Bob were invited to speak with them about it.

Looking ahead

Richard explained that we will formally complete the incorporation of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce to a company limited by guarantee, on a not-for-profit basis.

We will continue to lobby and influence decision makers to identify more employment land in the village.

We will also work collaboratively to maintain the High Street as a vibrant destination for both local residents and visitors.

He gave his thanks to the committee, members and speakers over the past year.

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Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce will be held at 6.45pm on Tuesday 25th April 2017 at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club, Barhatch Lane, Cranleigh, GU6 7NG, for the purpose of:

-adopting the minutes of the previous AGM as a correct record of proceedings;

Cranleigh Chamber AGM 2016 Minutes

-receiving the President’s report;

-providing an update on the company incorporation of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Ltd;

-adopting a change in membership fees paid by retired members;

-receiving the Treasurer’s Report;

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce Accounts 2017

-election of officers;

-election of committee;

Cranleigh Chamber AGM 2017 Agenda

Any other business and nominations for officers should be notified to rosemaryfrenchobe@gmail.com no later than midday on 21st April 2017, using the following form:

Cranleigh Chamber Officer and Committee Nomination Form 2017

Apologies for absence: Please notify the Secretary by email to hello@cranleighbiz.co.uk.

The AGM will be followed at 7.30pm by our annual dinner to which partners and non-members are welcome.

The two course dinner will cost £20 per person, or £35 for two tickets, or £100 for a table of six.

Our guest speaker is Shaun Parry Jones, consultant solicitor at Lynn Murray & Co.

Prior to becoming a solicitor, Shaun worked for seven years as an art dealer. He is a popular speaker and has given numerous talks to groups on his many years as a wheelchair user and his charitable work.

Shaun will be sharing the story of his career and the rugby injury that left him paraplegic as a young man; an injury he has previously described as the best thing that’s happened to him.

Tickets are available to book at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cranleigh-chamber-of-commerce-annual-dinner-agm-tickets-30057618145

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Gatwick business travel survey

Gatwick has launched their Business Travel Survey this week.  They want to hear from local businesses about their business travel needs.

If you travel on business please complete the survey, and do share the link with your own networks.

This is a repeat of a survey Gatwick conducted two years ago which was used to help inform the development and expansion of their route network – they currently serve 228 destinations in 74 countries, including 50 long haul destinations – with 20 new long haul routes added in the last year.

Complete the survey at https://www.research.net/r/LGWBusiness

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BilliBiz the show 2017

Members of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce might like to exhibit at this business-to-business trade show and networking event in Billingshurst on Friday 5th May.

There are many good reasons to exhibit, including:

•    Develop business to business connections
•    Make face to face contact with potential customers
•    Promote your business products and services
•    Great networking opportunities
•    Enhancing the brand of your company and improving its visibility within your chosen market
•    Reaching a large audience for a fraction of the cost of other marketing and advertising approaches
•    Taking advantage of the exhibition as a great PR opportunity

To find out more and reserve your table, visit www.billibiztheshow.co.uk

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Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce response to Waverley Borough Council Economic Strategy Refresh

Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has submitted a response to the Waverley Borough Council Economic Strategy Refresh Consultation.

Our response can be downloaded here:

Waverley Borough Council Economic Strategy Consultation Questions

Within our response, we highlight the importance of established and new residents in Cranleigh being able to live and work locally, avoiding the need to commute long distances.

We also promote the aim of enabling businesses to start up and grow, trading locally, regionally and internationally.

As a thriving Chamber of Commerce, we believe it is important that businesses in Cranleigh are able to attract skilled staff, and that the village can attract transport infrastructure investment.

A important aim of our consultation response is to maintain a vibrant High Street in Cranleigh.

With around 140 business members, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a positive voice to attract, retain and encourage growing businesses.

We will support and encourage commercial enterprises of all size and type located within Cranleigh and the surrounding area, provide networking events to ensure that communication between members is strong, stage business briefing events for members throughout the year, hold social events for members when appropriate, and lobby government at local and national level about issues relevant to the business community.

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Cranleigh Lions English Wine Fair

Cranleigh Lions English Wine FairCranleigh Lions are delighted to announce our first English Wine Fair, which will take place on Saturday 13th May in Cranleigh Village Hall.   There will be two sessions, 3pm – 5pm and 6 pm – 8pm.

Proceeds from the Wine Fair will support Lions Charities and in particular the Kent Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance.

This unique event will showcase over 40 English still & sparkling wines from Kent, Surrey & Sussex vineyards.   Local vineyards supporting the event include, Albury, Blackdown Ridge, Bolney, Carr Taylor, Denbies, Greyfriars, High Clandon, Nutbourne, & Hush Heath.

Also in attendance will be English Wine experts, Hawkins Bros of Godalming and “Toast of Surrey Business Awards Winner 2016”, Ruby & Kind, who will be selling light bites at the Fair.

There is no better way to appreciate English wine than to attend our English Wine Fair.

We very much look forward to seeing you at this exciting event to celebrate together the wonderful diversity of wines that our local vineyards have to offer.

Tickets are limited, so we urge you to book without delay.

Tickets in advance are £15 to include catalogue, tasting notes and 10 tasting tokens, and can be purchased on line via our website www.cranleighlions.org.

Tickets are also available from Ruby & Kind, 119 High Street Cranleigh, and  Burns & Webber, 32 High Street Cranleigh

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Did you spot the Gorilla?

Our speaker for breakfast this month at The Richard Onslow was Trevor Dale, founder of Atrainability.

Trevor is a former commercial pilot who has developed a successful training, consultancy and speaking business helping other organisations to understand ‘human factors’.

27 Chamber members enjoyed hearing from Trevor about his stories in operating theatres, before he gave a practical example of how our attention can become easily focused on one thing, resulting in us missing the obvious – did you spot the Gorilla?

Following Trevor’s talk, Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce vice-president Bob Bayley gave members an update on the plans for car parking upgrades in the village over the coming weeks, and answered questions about how the new system will work.

Our next breakfast meeting takes place on Thursday 13th April at Cafe on the Park at Dunsfold Park.

Our speakers are Vanessa Ford and Nik Huddy, who featured in the Channel 4 show Restoration Man when they restored Longhurst Lodge, in Horsham Road, which they purchased as a derelict building in 2009.

Tickets for this breakfast are now available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cranleigh-chamber-of-commerce-breakfast-meeting-april-2017-tickets-31169214961.

Booking is also now open for the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce AGM and Annual Dinner, which takes place at Cranleigh Golf & Country Club on Tuesday 25th April at 7pm.

Our special guest speaker for this dinner is Shaun Parry-Jones, a consultant solicitor at Lynn Murray & Co solicitors.

Shaun is a popular speaker, having given numerous talks to groups, such as Rotary, on his many years as a wheelchair user.

Tickets for our annual dinner are now available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cranleigh-chamber-of-commerce-annual-dinner-agm-tickets-30057618145, and partners or guests are very welcome to attend.

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Save the date! Cranleigh Food & Music Festival 2017

Date confirmed for Cranleigh Food & Music Festival 2016The third-annual Cranleigh Food & Music Festival is taking place this year on Saturday 30th September 2017.

This Festival is a collaboration between Cranleigh Arts Centre and Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, as a village-wide event designed to raise money for Cranleigh Arts Centre, registered charity no. 284186.

The committee of volunteers have already been busy arranging a full day of food and drink providers for the food festival within the Arts Centre, including cooking demonstrations in the demonstration kitchen we launched last year, and live music which will be taking place throughout the day at The Three Horseshoes.

We would also like as many Cranleigh businesses as possible to take part in the Festival, by hosting live music in their premises along the High Street, running special offers for Festival visitors, or taking their food outside for the day!

Here are the marketing guidelines for the Cranleigh Food & Music Festival 2017, which we encourage you to read carefully:

Cranleigh Food and Music Festival 2017 Marketing Guidelines

Once you have secured your music act, we can feature this in the Festival Guide for a small listing fee of £25. We will also make sure your business is mentioned on our Social Media feeds before the event and on the day itself.

We are also looking for a headline sponsor for the Cranleigh Food & Music Festival this year. Here is what being the main sponsor has to offer for your business:

Cranleigh Food and Music Festival 2017 Main Sponsorship Package

In addition to sponsorship, there are opportunities to advertise in the Festival Guide, which will be distributed to 4,000 households in Cranleigh one month before the big day, and handed out to visitors on the day too.

We hope you will get involved in this exciting event which always brings a lot of visitors (and potential customers!) to the village.

Do get in touch with us at hello@cranleighbiz.co.uk to find out more.

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