Banbury’s Future is bright!
The Town Hall was full last Thursday for Banbury & District Chamber of Commerce annual business event; Preparing Banbury for the Future. Representatives from over 80 businesses and community groups attended to listen to three talks, take part in a panel Question and Answer session and visit local organisations’ trade stands.
Neil Wild, Chair of the Banbury & District Chamber said: It was a popular event with lots of information to digest. There are many positive initiates taking place and in store for Banbury and our BCOC Live event has always been a useful place to hear about such things. Banbury’s strategic location continues to be a catalyst for business growth and it was fascinating to hear how Kärcher came to base its UK headquarters here.”
Special mention this year was made of the diversity of the town’s independent retailers, as well as the developing historical and cultural offering from the Mill, Banbury Museum and Tooley’s Boatyard. The audience was also excited to hear about Lock 29, which will open in the spring inside Castle Quay and will house food and drink artisans, a pop-up cinema and a community space.
Headline speakers were:
- Simon Keeping, Managing Director, Kärcher UK Ltd. Kärcher recently built a fantastic new UK headquarters office, training academy and retail store in Banbury. Simon outlined how the UK business is facing up to the current economic and political issues, the challenges of recruitment, training, and retention of a multi-generational workforce, together with changing customer habits.
- Debra Hunt, Owner, Doodledash Interiors, Parsons Street and Dan Ludlow, Owner, Nothing but Footprints, Castle Quay. These two small town centre business owners explained how they are gearing up to meet changing customer buying behaviours. They also talked about the trends they have identified and how they will affect the future of Banbury’s retail sector and the town centre as a place for commerce.
Neil added. “As a Chamber we have identified three critical aspects from the event. We are looking to follow these up in partnership with business leaders, the Council and other organisations over the coming months.” They include:
- Publicly recognising the good things that Banbury already has to offer and sharing the responsibility of being positive about the town, so we can continue to make the town more attractive to locals, businesses and visitors.
- Helping to reduce businesses’ environmental impact.
- Working with educational providers to encourage the engagement of young people.
A new special award was introduced for this year’s event, the Banbury Chamber Unsung Hero Award. An award for someone who has gone the extra mile for the town. After consideration of the nominations received, the Chamber Board awarded Paul Jarvis with the trophy for his work in support of the Horton Hospital.
Banbury Chamber of Commerce is the recognised voice of the Banbury business community. With nearly 150 members, they work tirelessly with businesses to provide support, information, advocacy and networking opportunities. In addition, they continue to play an instrumental role in key developments and activities affecting the town and Banburyshire as a whole.