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Opening Another Brand New Business for Bedford High Street

September 26, 2013 6:20 PM

Dave Hodgson with Graeme Mulheron, Zipyard Franchise Owner at Official OpeningIt was a pleasure recently to help formally open the latest addition to Bedford High Street, The ZipYard. This new store offers garment repairs and alterations, and owner Graeme Mulheron showed me the professional operation they have in place, with on-site seamstresses and changing rooms. As I have said many, many times before, in the current climate which sees High Streets across the UK struggling in the face of prevailing trends such as out-of-town and internet shopping, a visit to town has to offer something more. A service such as clothing repair is obviously not something that you can simply buy easily online, and I think The ZipYard is a very welcome addition to the town.

National figures published this week revealed that 18 shops are shutting a day in Britain's town centres. Here in Bedford we are having to contend with this difficult climate, and while we are in no way complacent about the work to be done it is of course pleasing that we are continuing to buck the trend as one of the towns that is actually seeing the town centre vacancy rate falling. We know that all of us who care about our town need to continue to work together in face of the difficult climate for high streets.

We do need to recognise and build upon our strengths, of course, and on this point there was a telling comment at the opening of The ZipYard. The Managing Director of national retail group The Bardon Group, who has major brand stores in towns and cities across the country, was extremely complimentary of our town and what it has to offer, and said that what really struck him about Bedford was that it has 'real character'. I told him that he has good taste! I also stressed that we are working to protect and to use that character to make Bedford an even more attractive place to spend time in, and of course to spend money in the local economy!