Flashback 5 years - Rising bills and lack of marketing biggest worry for town’s businesses

Paul Reach - A tired looking Business Forum Chairman

Just out of interest here is a flashback to what the towns businesses were thinking in 2012. This article on the Business Forum website and also in the Dartmouth Chronicle, analysed the results of the Forum Business Survey and eventually lead the following year to the project to create a Business Improvement District which would target the biggest concern of Businesses in the town at the time, at least the one concern they could change themselves.

Makes interesting reading

Rising bills worry town’s businesses

in Dartmouth Chronicle

Businesses are more afraid of rising rents, rates and utility bills than they are of anything else, a Dartmouth survey has revealed.

But concerns about the lack of marketing of the town and their businesses comes a reasonably close second.

The Dart Music Festival is now more important to the business community than the town’s royal regatta, according to the survey so far.

But seeing the town lit up with Christmas lights and the annual candlelit Christmas event comes further down the list of importance.

The online survey is being carried out by Dartmouth Business Forum.

So far more than 50 businesses have responded to the survey, said forum chairman Paul Reach.

Of those a total of 85 per cent said that the issues facing their business which most or quite concerns them was the rising costs of rents, rates and utilities, while 77 per cent named the lack of marketing of Dartmouth as a concern.

That compared to 75 per cent who thought the lack of visitors to the town was most important; 73 percent who were worried about the lack of ’spend’ by residents; and 67 percent who were concerned about the possible of extension of on-street car parking charges in the town.

Only 31 per cent were worried about competition from other towns in south Devon.

Mr Reach told a forum meeting that it was important for more and more of the business to take part in the anonymous survey.

He pointed out it is part of the forum’s bid to put together a ’vision’ of where the town wants to be in the next 10 to 20 years.

He said that the forum had set up a special ’vision’ group involving businessmen, tourist information centre, town council and South Hams Council representatives to try to help hammer out a way forward.

’Their aim is to look at where we are now and ask where do we want to be and how do we get there,’ he said.

He said the forum was already involved in an analysis of the town’s strengths, weaknesses and the threats facing it.

So far 69 per cent of businesses who have taken part in the survey reckon that Dartmouth Music Festival is very or quite important to the town. That compares to 60 per cent who said the same about the regatta; 47 per cent about Candlelit Christmas; 41 per cent about the tourist information centre; and 40 per cent about the town’s Christmas lights.

Most of the businesses said they wanted to employ more staff.

And 65 per cent said their business did better or much the same last year as in 2010 and the same percentage said they were expecting this year to be better or much the same as last year.

The survey was completed by retailers in the town who made up 29 per cent of the answers, another 26 per cent were cafes, restaurants, delis or pubs, while 18 per cent were professional services like solicitors.

Only seven per cent of the answers came from hotel, guesthouses or other accommodation providers.

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