Clare shop the first to benefit from new council-backed scheme

Cllr Alaric Pugh and shop owner Shara Browning outside Clare Farm Shop ANL-150914-113608001
Cllr Alaric Pugh and shop owner Shara Browning outside Clare Farm Shop ANL-150914-113608001

A family run shop in Clare has become the first to receive a new grant aimed at helping to grow trade at independent businesses.

Clare Farm Shop is the first to benefit from St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s new shop front painting scheme.

The scheme, which is only open to independent businesses, allows them to apply for up to 75 per cent of the costs for repainting the front of their premises.

Leanne Morris who alongside business partner Shara Browning owns the Market Hill shop, said: “This has made such a difference.

“The front is the first bit of the shop that our customers see and it is quite important that it looks good.

“We have recently invested in refurbishing the inside of the shop, and the new look shop front really completes the job.

“We have been here 16 years and have built up a good customer base during that time – and a lot of them have been commenting about how amazing the new shop front looks. They love it.”

Cllr Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth, and ward member for Clare, said: “I am delighted that one of our popular family run stores in Clare has been the first to take advantage of this new grant.

“We have a strong mix of independent businesses here in Clare, while the town is also popular with tourists especially in the summer.

“All of these tourists are potential new customers and first impressions are hugely important.

“That first impression will start – and quite possibly end – with the appearance of the shop front.

“It can make all the difference as to whether a passer by is enticed into discovering a business and spending their money – or if they are simply put off before they have even opened the door.”

The shop front paint scheme is also offered in Forest Heath. A further seven independent business across the two districts are in the process of receiving their grant, while there is still money available for around another six grants to be awarded during this financial year.

The scheme is available on a first come first served basis and is subject to terms and conditions including a maximum grant of £500 per applicant.

To enquire about the shop front painting scheme contact Natasha Brockett, economic growth officer on 01638 719285 or email Natasha.brockett@westsuffolk.gov.uk.