Business leaders in Warwickshire paid a visit to Stratford in the hope of starting a chain reaction that boosts trade – and jobs – in the town.
Tom Mongan, the president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, donned his ceremonial chain of office as he and membership manager Hazel Pilling met Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council Mayor Kevin Taylor.
The trio discussed how the town has been faring as lockdown restrictions have eased over recent months and how the Chamber could support businesses in a range of ways to help them bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis.
Tom and Hazel then visited The Arden Hotel where they met general manager Josefine Blomqvist to find out how it was trading in the current climate.
Tom said: “We visited Stratford on a beautiful, sunny day and it was very busy with lots of people in the town.
“The businesses we visited made us very welcome and it was great to see people out having food and drink and boosting business in Stratford, all in a very safe and secure environment.
“Kevin is keen to do everything in his power to show that, even with some restrictions still in place, that the town is open for business and for companies to know that they can get support from the Chamber.
“We then moved on to The Arden Hotel where we chatted to Josefine and heard how the business is doing.
“They are starting to see footfall return although they are, of course, missing out on lots of trade as the theatre is yet to reopen while there is very little by way of business travel.
“Josefine also highlighted a real need to recruit because so many people have left the hospitality industry. This is a situation that we’ve heard from several members in the hospitality trade so we’d encourage people to take a look at the sector again if they are looking for a new career after lockdown.
“If venues such as The Arden Hotel can fill those vacancies with local people, it will boost the regional economy and also help businesses to boost their trade too.”
Josefine added: “It was lovely to welcome Tom and Hazel to the hotel and to show the areas of the businesses that are trading well and, also, those elements that are still some way off returning to normal.
“If we can get the message out there that there are jobs available and, also, that we are open for business across the town it would be a major boost for the regional economy.”
Kevin said: “It’s great to see Stratford looking very busy again and it’s vital that we make sure the footfall is converted into a boost in trade for our businesses.”