Owner of fashion boutique LivsLuxe calling for support to create a version of Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter in Burnley
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Olivia Robson says she has seen numerous small shops close their doors for good in the town centre since she opened LivsLuxe in St James' Row last April.
The fashionista is calling on small businesses to work together not only to support each other but to help put them on customers’ radar and create a trendy town centre hotspot like Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Olivia said: "I think we need to push the fact that small businesses need help now more than ever. A lot of them have shut down.
"There is a lot opening up but I think people are only buying what they need. So I think small businesses are having to adapt and change what they sell and the prices of things.
"I think by working together, we will push each other. There are so many amazing small businesses opening up and people just don't know about them.
Olivia also suggests a map of independent stores could help promote them while financial support could help people afford to save for the initial deposit on a shop.
Burnley BID, a network of town centre companies, offers free training to entrepreneurs by working with the council and Boost Lancashire. It is hoping to create a landlord’s forum to bring shop owners together to “get everyone round the table” and discuss ideas like a Burnley Northern Quarter.
The council has also been running a Burnley Business Week for 10 years offering free support.
Andrew Dean, Burnley BID Project Manager, said there is some established support through Boost Lancashire, and hopes to set up a landlord’s forum to explore further ways to offer incentives to new businesses.
He added: “We work with colleges quite a lot and we can offer a free stall at Burnley Artisan Market to students. If any entrepreneurs want to do a pop-up shop, get in touch and we can see what we could offer in Charter Walk and could even go as far as setting up a shop, hopefully for free.”
Andrew said he could additionally look at creating a map of small town centre shops on the Burnley BID website.
Also offering support packages is the University of Central Lancashire.
A UCLan spokesperson said: “We understand that these are tough times for businesses, and it’s why we continue to go above and beyond to support them. Our Centre for SME and Enterprise Development provides a free membership where businesses can connect and learn together with over 1,700 other SME members. Members have access to wide range of expertise, knowledge and facilities; can attend masterclasses and networking events; and develop their workforce through the range of courses we offer.
“We’re continuing to invest in our Burnley campus, responding to local employers’ skills needs and supporting the regeneration of Burnley Town Centre and the wider region it serves.”