It’s the time of year we start thinking of our own aspirations for 2013, but what of our dreams and aspirations for our local town

Altrincham – I have a dream…. well not quite a dream but a few bullet points of thing’s I’d like to see happen in 2013 and I’d love to hear yours as well

Altrincham Ice Rink

Altrincham Ice Rink

1. We start selling Our Unique Story

It’s January and Dancing on Ice is on National TV. I don’t watch the program myself, but for once it’s putting Altrincham on TV for all the right reasons rather than being the poster town for empty units.

As Wayne from the Window Co said on facebook when we brought up the subject “Was thinking the other day, not many small towns that have ice rink, cinema, theatre, football club etc.”

Altrincham has a lot to offer currently – it’s time we started selling it as such – people should be flooding in off the tram and trains with the offer we currently have in terms of leisure and lifestyle

A busting Altrincham market for A Taste Of Trafford

2. Businesses Start Collaborating & Creating Partnerships

One of the best events in Altrincham in recent years has been the Taste Of Trafford. Why does it work so well? Collaboration of marketing activities by all the stall holders and restaurants involved

Businesses could learn a lot from that all year round and we use the example of the old Belgian Bar who used to hand out 10% discount vouchers to Dilli with bills before they started serving their own food

This month we saw Zipyard tweeting “Don’t forget you can pick up a free day pass for @LadyzoneUK at the ZipYard and their members get 10% of all their alterations” – makes perfect sense as once you lose weight you don’t want to buy a new wardrobe

Before Xmas we suggested that The Village Toy Co speak to Gummy Worm about marketing collaborations for the same reason

What do you in business? How can other businesses compliment yours?

The Zipyard Altrincham

3. Traditional Businesses Get More Social

The Vintage Market, Zipyard, Phanthong, Bloom Live, Pitta Crepe – they all have one thing in common – they’ve all used Social Media in 2012 to get word out there that they exist and they’re getting great results from it

But what of the traditional businesses that have been here for years and are still to get Social.

In Altrincham we all have our favourite restaurants, bars & pubs, shops that each have their own unique USPs – next time you’re in there mention to them the need to jump into 2013 with both feet

Altrincham George Street

Altrincham George Street


4. That end of George Street is sorted out

For anybody who walks down George Street it’s clear to see that there’s 2 side to our main retail offer

The problem is the side that has empty units, is the side that we encourage visitors from the town to take advantage of the great value parking, it’s the side where a host of restaurants are based on Regent Rd, it’s the side where the majority of school kids walk through on the way to the tram station

In short when you see a negative tweet about Altrincham you can guarantee 90% it’s inspired by that end of George Street

So landlords – get off your a*se – if you can’t fill the units there are plenty of folks in Altrincham who want to make meanwhile use of the empty shops to inspire confidence in our town


Shop Local

Shop Local


5. Once Businesses Leave You Don’t Send People Out Of Town or Online

Karen Wroe of Art With A Heart mentioned something we’ve been thinking for a while on twitter – why when businesses leave Altrincham do they agressively market that you leave said town and go to the nearby Trafford Centre, Retail Park or other town centres

Why where Pizza Hut is haven’t we got a celebration of our local Italian Restaurants such as Coco’s, Farina and Scalini’s rather than pushing people out to the retail park?

In Burtons why don’t we use it as a celebration of the local clothes boutiques that have popped up recently

Provide the alternative to whats been there before rather than sent people out of town

Next week we’ll bring you 5 More Things You’d Like To See Happen In Altrincham in 2013 from local community leaders

Please leave your own desires for Altrincham 2013 in the comments section below



12 responses to “5 Things I’d Like To See Happen in Altrincham in 2013”

  1. Avatar Peter Davies says:

    Some interesting points there Alex. I’ve long advocated that Altrincham develops its brand identity and uses a distinct visual language about the town – especially in locations which are drab and empty. We must use every opportunity we can to promote the benefits of living, working and playing in Altrincham. Keep up the good work.

  2. Avatar melissa paxton says:

    Thanks Alex, some really good points. Since my return to the world of town centre marketing, I have found it disappointing to hear of people focusing on the negatives of my own home town.

    Marketing strategy should start with focusing on the town’s strengths; and the town has plenty to promote. I wanted to applaud Wayne’s comments at the time, unfortunately my own Christmas marketing for other centres took priority at the time.

    I am also really impressed by the support and campaigning by local people on social media: maybe I was the only one to feel that Altrincham town centre felt more positive this Christmas?

    I feel that 2013 will be a positive year for Altrincham.

    Thanks Alex

    Melissa Paxton

  3. Avatar Dan Jones says:

    Great blog post Alex, especially agree with point 4, it’s always “that end of George Street” on TV.
    Hopefully landlords will read this and decide to put empty units to small community projects or social enterprises!

    Dan Jones

  4. Thanks Alex, some great points here & you’ve inspired me to pick up the phone today & talk to someone we might be able to collaborate with!

  5. Alex Alex says:

    Wow so many comments here and all great points

    Especially pleased to see Angela’s comment of the online world inspiring offline activity

    Keep us updated on your success Angela

  6. I love your blogs, emails, posts etc and what you say makes loads and loads of sense. But after 3 years, I packed up my lovely shop on Greenwood Street, and a further 2 years on the market which I have just left, what did anyone ‘in authority’ say about it when I mentioned I would be finishing at the market? Did they ask What can we do to help? What is the reason you are leaving the town after 5 years? NO they didn’t. This is what they said ‘Right ok then!’. I literally have put my heart, my soul, my life into building this business. Luckily I have sustained (by working extremely hard) my business in other formats, and I have loads of lovely customers who still come to me directly and many more who have come from new channels. But make no mistake, the so called authorities were happy to leave me almost bankrupt because they do not have enough to offer to encourage businesses to sustain themselves in the location. The survival of my business has been solely due to my hard work and persistence and exploring new channels to develop a luxury product range for which the market died during the recession hit last 5 years. Oh and the Taste of Trafford which I have been a stall holder at for the last 5 years, made a huge loss for me in 2010 because they have other traders from outside the area who are willing to make a profit of 20p per cupcake and basically work for nothing meaning I sustained a £200 loss, will I do that again?? No I will not. Where is the support for an 8 year old local business? And fair trade does not just apply to 3rd world countries. Sorry to be so negative because you do absolutely brilliant work, but pointing out the realities of life as a trader in Altrincham! Virginia

  7. Avatar Pete Brettle says:

    I agree completely with your comment about not sending customers elsewhere. Those boards at Macdonalds and pizza hut’s old sites should be replaced with a sign directing the public to The Downs and a sign informing the public of the excelenet array of pubs and restaurants available near by.

    As far as I can comprehend the biggest thing that is holding back new entrants to the retail market is the cost of the business rates in the town. It is one of the issues that puts off most people from taking the plunge.

    I would personally like to see a zero tolerance for underage drinking and drunk and disorderly activity at night in the town centre. Altrincham has the potential to have a great night time economy, but has a reputation that puts many off from from visiting the town after dark.

    Finally…Hopefully North Cheshire Radio will finally come to fruition this year and help become a focal point within the community, but it will need the community to support it too.

  8. Alex Alex says:

    Thanks for the feedback Virginia

    Always good to hear the other side of the coin re: Taste Of Trafford as have heard very mixed opinions on the event from traders & restaurants. As consumers often at events we often consider how good the event is for us as consumers rather than looking at things like costings like we do our own business.

    I always enjoy the taste of trafford, but I did feel there were too many cakes / sweet / desserts stalls at Taste Of Xmas and not enough savoury treats. So from a saturation perspective I imagine many found it difficult this year

    Re: Market / Retail I don’t feel that this sector has enough support. As a B2B business I get a huge amount of support from other businesses at networking events, which anybody who goes networking will tell you is invaluable, so i’d love there to be a support network for retail that helps fight their issues. Rent and Rates are the massive plague on our society right now

  9. Alex Alex says:

    Pete – thanks for the feedback

    Agreed with McDonalds and Pizza Hut – there is some advertising for the Stamford Quarter on them, but many more disused units

    Re: Night time D&D behaviour it isn’t perfect, but I know there isn’t a huge problem of this anymore and Clarke at GMP Altrincham has cleaned things up a lot in terms of ASB.

    Underage drinking i’m not sure of any issues, but as you know a number of years ago I ran the All Ages Gigs in Sale and Altrincham areas which kept around 3-400 teenagers each momth off the local parks and into safe environment to soak up live music. After being selected as a torch bearer for this in 2012 I am aiming to revive them for 2013 once I find a suitable sized venue. The pedigree of music was second to none and it hit home recently when I look back and A) A band that regularly played for us are still the youngest band ever to do a National XFM Session B) A girl that played for us regularly supported the Courteeners in December at the Arena C) Just yesterday an artist who played The Station Hotel for us was New Band Of The Day in the Guardian D) Want to know who does the live music bookings for Bloom? It’s the guy who used to do sound at engineer our All Ages Events locally as well …….. so big big plans for a revival in 2013

    And of course the radio station. So looking forward to that – community focused for local, local music and full integration with twitter so that the physical environment meets the online world. Gpoing to be an awesome addition to Altrincham

  10. Avatar Jayne Wheat says:

    Fabulous insightful blog. The empty shops would make great platforms to advertise all the local shops,such as Trader’s Outlet and No16Vintage that a lot of people only a few hundred yards away in the centre of town seem unaware of AND to advertise the Market events. No brainer.

  11. Altrincham has an awful lot to offer & as a new retailer in the area, I’ve followed local blogs & tweets with great interest. One thing that leaps out at me is the passion of the local people – whether they be talking positively or negatively, the passion they have for the area really comes across – this has to be a huge strength that we can build on through 2013 & beyond. Let’s make sure we use this great community spirit to achieve the goals mentioned here – not every town can boast having so many people who care so passionately about their town’s future. Let’s promote Altrincham & Shop Local whenever & wherever we can. Let’s support local & community events.

    And I so agree about the reciprocal business arrangements. I run a small papercraft shop within the Trader’s Outlet on The Downs & would be happy to collaborate with other local businesses who think a joint venture might be beneficial. There are lots of other independent traders within our store who would also love to collaborate with others, so I invite anyone to please get in touch if you feel this applies to you – let’s help each other out!

    Many thanks for your blog posts & tweets, Alex – they’re proving very useful & informative to me!


    Shirley Foster
    Shernocky Crafts

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