Following the turbulent year that was 2021, business owners in Chichester are optimistic that 2022 will be a fruitful one.
Jonathan Jones owner of West Street Deli said: “To be honest, the first thing I’m looking forward to is getting through January. It’s always a quiet month for any business, fortunately I had a very good December, as an opening month it was fantastic, we’ve had great support and custom building already and am looking forward to building that custom throughout the year.
“I will be tweaking the stock to have more everyday items that people can put together and cook with at home, whereas at Christmas I was stocking more items that were more suited as gifts.
“For me its going to be a very interesting time, obviously the streets are quiet in January, but it’s all about diversifying for me and coming up with new ideas to get the footfall in the door. I’m launching hot drinks soon, I’ve got the vats of coffee coming to Chichester which is a new coffee brand for Chichester, there’s nowhere else that sells it.
“We’re predominantly takeaway but I’m going to be introducing a small amount of seating both inside and out over the next couple of weeks.
“And again that will help bring more people in, people will come in for a coffee and then they’ll hopefully pick up another couple of items.
“I’m doing superfood bowls for lunches, again, something a little bit different for Chichester and fits in quite nicely with January with everyone trying to be healthier with the typical diets that people go on throughout the new year. “The superfood lunchboxes, which is effectively just very good salads with lost of different highly nutritious elements to them.
“So for me, it’s quite exciting, this is a brand new business and it’s my first January, first full year trading, and obviously with Covid, it’s going to impact me in the high street with it being quieter and less people around for lunchtimes so I’m going to capitalise on business as much as I can and do as much as I can for such a small shop.”
Julia Grant who owns Winter’s Moon on North Street said: “I feel cautiously optimistic for both the city and my business for 2022. There is still a lot of anxiety as we are not out of the woods yet, but we are in a much better position than this time last year.
“This will be our first Spring being open on the high street, despite having been at no 29 North St. for two years so there is still a lot we don’t know.
“But Winter’s Moon had a very positive Christmas trading season and we are working hard to continue to offer a really individual product range and great customer experience both in-store and online, so feel we have a really good foundation for growth in 2022.
“I also believe the last two years have really brought the city together with stakeholders such as Chichester Bid, the District and City councils and the cultural institutions such as the Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery working together far more - this can only be a good thing.
“From personal experience of talking to customers I know that the city has a huge appeal, pulling visitors from a really wide area and think that this will only increase as we hopefully get more interesting businesses on the high street. “I hope that the increase in empty shops presents opportunity for more interesting and independent businesses going forward.
“But this is reliant on the property owner supporting the businesses that offer real diversity and benefit to the city, rather than who can pay the highest rent. I might be naive in this hope - only time will tell.
“It has also become clear that consumers are increasingly questioning where products come from, how they are made, and how sustainable they are.
“So businesses like ours that really question the values of the products we sell will only benefit from this raised awareness.
“The extraordinary challenges of the last two years have meant that myself and my team have had to work harder than we ever have before but there have been some silver linings, and I am really proud that we have hopefully made it out the other side.
Sarah Tebb, who also works at Winter’s Moon said: “I’m hopefully looking forward to a year of being open, no more lockdown!
“I’m looking forward to growing our community and being part of the high street again and attracting more and more people into an independent way of shopping and being able to make a difference on the high street by continuing to be able to be here. I think it’s about being able to carry on presenting something unique, something away from chain stores.
“The nature of being independent is always a slight challenge. Covid aside, the challenge of attracting new faces and attracting old faces back to the shop is always a challenge and increasing footfall really.
Rachel Soothill, Owner of BrightWord PR said: “The last couple of years have been tough on many businesses both big and small, but Chichester has continued to show true resilience. Wherever you look support for our city is apparent, from organisations like Chichester BID tirelessly working to support the city centre to The Collective and Rume2 helping keep the incredible network of small businesses and freelancers connected. We are lucky to be a part of a city which cares so much and are optimistic that 2022 will be a positive one for our local area. We are already seeing a surge in enquiries this month as businesses plan to move onwards and upwards from the past few years.”
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