Friday, July 12, 2019
BRIGG BUCKS THE TREND WHEN IT COMES TO SHOPPING
Having returned home after a walk into sunny Brigg town centre to do a bit of shopping earlier this week we sat down to read a national newspaper and saw a prominent story about June sales figures for British shops suffering a record fall, with online buying and other factors being blamed.
Clearly, many retailers across the UK - large and small - are feeling the pinch and lots have closed.
Brigg has a few empty shops, such as the former Greggs premises on Wrawby Street, but generally has managed to buck this downward trend affecting British retailing.
Indeed, we reported that a lady travelled over by train last Saturday from historic York to take a look at what our town centre has to offer.
During our walk home on Tuesday morning we passed Wallhead's outfitters and glimpsed the window sign saying it was established in the 1890s.
No other shop in the town centre can match that, but our 'high street' - unlike many others across the UK - is not full of empty units carrying 'For Sale' and 'To Let' notices.
How does Brigg do it?
Pedestrianisation certainly helps, as does the generous free car parking concession from North Lincolnshire Council and the fact that we have a number of niche retailers.
Brigg Town Business Partnership also deserves a pat on the back, while the markets (general and farmers) are a draw and increase what retailers call footfall.
But the main reason is a simple one: People enjoy shopping in Brigg, and come from miles around to do so - week after week - although there's clearly no cause for complacency.
We've lost some pubs over the past 15-20 years but still have a good number for a town of Brigg's size.
Some bank branches have also closed but we still have a couple that are busy.
Many UK towns that have higher populations than Brigg now have no banks at all, and some have only one or two hostelries remaining.
Having taken those factors into consideration, surely we shouldn't grumble too much about Brigg town centre in 2019.
When the new shopping arches are installed in the not too distant future (artist's impression of one appears above) they will help guide visitors along the courtyards between the main car park, Wrawby Street and the Market Place.