With the recent news of Debenhams going into administration, it has caused a lot of people to panic about the future of the high street. We explain how Canterbury high street is evolving to keep itself thriving.
Canterbury Business Improvement District
Canterbury is one of three areas in Kent that have a Business Improvement District (BID).
Lisa Carlson, CEO of Canterburys BID, believes there should be BIDs set up in more areas of Kent, as they provide an invaluable service to towns.
Lisa said: “Yes to more BIDs because it gives a voice to the business community and invest money that is ring-fenced to spend on the priorities of the business community.
“I think BIDs are particularly crucial in these rapidly changing times.”
In Canterbury, the BID helps to deliver a number of projects to the city centre.
They help organise the Christmas lights, networking for businesses, hanging baskets in the summer, promotion to the city and running the ‘MyCanterbury’ scheme.
Kathy Moulton, MyCanterbury sales executive, says the aim of MyCanterbury is to drive people to specific stores in Canterbury.
She said: “MyCanterbury cards replaced the old-style Residents cards, around 5 years ago. We know that 47,000 people have registered with the app, website or bought the plastic card.
“Every month around 4,500 people use it to look for what’s on, deals and discounts and information about Canterbury city centre.
“Since we launched, 148,000 offers have been viewed and 22,800 redemptions of offers have been made via vouchers.
“MyCanterbury seeks to direct them to specific stores, venues or events, to ensure that they get the best from the city.”
The number of people shopping online is increasing every year. This is creating a worry that we could eventually see the high street be non-existent due to everyone shopping online.
Peter Scutt, Whitefriars Centre Manager, believes that shopping centres can always thrive, but they need to offer more than just a place to shop.
He said: “Though a shopping centre may not be able to offer the convenience of an online purchase from home, it can aspire to offer a clean, safe, entertaining, informative environment – an experience that is rewarding.
“Shopping centres and high streets need to offer more to meet customer’s rising expectations.”
It is clear that Canterbury High Street is still doing well in the current ecological climate, however if this is to continue, the high street must keep evolving and offer an experience that will make people want to spend time there.
The Canterbury BID is an important way in which businesses can work together and increase general footfall in the city.
Whitefriars is creating a reason for people to want to stay in town, by offering a clean and entertaining space for people to shop.