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Training to increase your footfall.

Feb 2020

Stratford High Street Retailers: HOW TO INCREASE YOUR FOOTFALL?!


You are invited to take part in the Warwickshire High Street Retail Course.




Take part in this online course with an introductory face to face meeting.

There are 4 modules with a 1-hour webinar for each which takes place once a fortnight.
There are assignments to complete on your business for each module (1/2 hour to 3hours – as much or as little time as you choose to invest), and all when it suits you.
  • Learn new techniques
  • Meet and learn from other businesses
  • Be inspired - see examples of what’s worked for others
  • Create your own plan with the support of the highly experienced tutor, Alison Read.
No charge for you to attend!  Funded by Warwickshire Towns Network
See the flyer for more info. 
Register by clicking here to go to Eventbrite and for more information
Call Alison with your questions 07941 259 795 
Recommended by Stratforward BID.

318 days to Christmas! And...

Feb 2020

Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian Christmas Market is returning for its fourth year which will be extended to four days of festivities.

The award-winning annual event will once again be taking place in Stratford’s town centre with an extra day of festive celebrations. The yuletide market will now take place from Thursday, December 10 until Sunday, December 13, and will see around 300 stalls for Christmas shopping, along with entertainment and a traditional funfair including a carousel.

Over 123,000 visitors are estimated to have flocked to the popular tourist destination for last year’s markets, making it the most successful Victorian Market yet. The popularity for the event has grown year-on-year, with 58,000 visitors attending the first event in 2017.

The market sees traders in traditional Victorian outfits with stalls offering everything from original artwork, handmade decorations and jewellery, and award-winning food and drink.


Free Digital Training

Jan 2020

Retailers in South Warwickshire looking to increase their online presence and bring more shoppers to the county are being encouraged to attend free digital sessions that will begin at the end of January.

On behalf of Warwickshire County Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce will be delivering free digital support to help independent retailers across the county increase trade, as part of the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.

Business owners across the whole of Warwickshire will be given advice on how to use social media, how to enhance shopping experiences to counter the functionality of online retail, and how to build better digital networks in their local area.

Local company, Stories Marketing – which has a background in retail and expertise in social media – will deliver the series of free workshops around the county between January 27 and March 23.

They will range from using Instagram and Facebook to drive sales through to the digital future of retail businesses.

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was an exciting opportunity for independent retailers to begin 2020 by finding new ways to grow their business.

She said: “We are very pleased to be able to reveal the dates for our workshops across Warwickshire as we look to support our small independents.

“The future of the high street is something that is very high profile, with the new Government offering increased reductions to business rates.

“A recent survey also showed that a significant percentage of small retailers have no digital presence at all – yet the majority of their customers are online.

“So these workshops come at the perfect time and will help independents in Warwickshire to tap into Stories Marketing’s expertise in this field and really drive footfall into their business.”

Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, said: “We are pleased to commissioning the digital skills for retailers and high street businesses for the fourth year running.

“The Warwickshire Towns Network has seen some real success stories since the programme started in 2016. One fifth of retailers on Warwickshire high streets are disconnected from the digital market place. This programme will open up new opportunities for small businesses to build better digital networks in the local area.

“It is wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, gaining new customers and changing the way they interact with customers and supporting the local economy.”

Session one – using Instagram and Facebook to drive sales in your retail store

Nuneaton        Monday January 27 10am – 1:30pm

Stratford          Tuesday 28 January 9:30am – 1pm

Leamington     Tuesday 28 January 5pm – 8:30pm

Rugby              Wednesday 29 January 9:30am – 1pm


Session two – how to use social media to create a buzz around your business

Stratford          Tuesday 4 February 9:30am – 1pm

Nuneaton        Monday 10 February 10am – 1:30pm

Leamington     Tuesday 11 February 5pm – 8:30pm

Rugby              Wednesday 12 February 9:30am – 1pm


Session three – the digital future for retail businesses

Stratford          Tuesday 17 March 9:30 – 1pm

Leamington     Tuesday 17 March 5pm – 8:30pm

Nuneaton        Monday 23 March 10am – 1:30pm

Rugby              Wednesday 15 March 9:30 – 1pm

For more information go to or contact Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on 02476 654321 (Option 4). 

Pictured: Sam Yair (left) with Emma Woodward

The Big Win

Jan 2020

Congratulations to the winner of our competition with Hooray's British Gelato Kitchen

- Amanda Young has won a big tub of Hooray's ice cream! 👍  

Many thanks to everyone who entered.

Happy New Year.




The Public Vote For Something Different!

Dec 2019

Local Independent Giftshop 'For Something Different’ Dazzles to win the Public's Vote in Christmas Window Competition!

Local independent gift shop, ‘For Something Different’ has won the inaugural Public Vote for Stratford’s Christmas Window Competition for their Nutcracker themed window. 

Comments on Facebook include a ‘Beautiful, colourful and artistic display’,   ‘so much attention to detail and Christmas pizazz! 🎅 ‘ and ‘it’s always inspired’.

Shop owners Jondon and Ewa Gourkan, ‘ We are over the moon aim to have won the public’s vote and hope more people will pop in to see the unusual gifts we offer at great value for money - especially at Christmas!”

Runners Up

Joint runners up as voted by the public are Knights Fine Jewellery on Wood Street and Mistral on Bridge Street.  The competition was organised by Stratforward BID.

Everyone who voted was included in a prize draw to win £50 in vouchers to spend in town.  The winner was Amy Price, who voted For Something Different.

Joseph Baconnet, BID Director, awarded the certificates and stated, ‘Many congratulations to ‘For Something Different’ for their display created by the husband and wife team. Stratford looks incredible especially at Christmas and the shops and businesses work hard to make the town so festive.  Shopping local is the key for us all, as where we shop matters to the future of our town.’






For Something Different: Ewa & Jondon Gourkan, Proprietors 

Mistral: Amy Rogers Manager,  Natasha Tout Assistant Manager, Joseph Baconnet – Stratforward BID Director

Knights Fine Jewellery: Chris and Steve Allpress, Proprietors

Applications closing soon to perform at Stratford River Festival 2020

Dec 2019

The deadline to apply to perform is Sunday, December 15th.

To perform on the Bandstand or Acoustic Stage please email a brief description with links to online recordings (YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp etc), your website and contact details to (Do not use the facebook application option.)

Applications received after December 15th will not be considered.

This year’s Stratford River Festival is 4-5 July 2020.

Many thanks


Stein, Doug and The Crew

Ents Manager Stratford River Festival 2020




Winter Weekender Recognition

Dec 2019

Stratford is included in the Guardian's top 15 places to go for a pre-Christmas Break! 

Winter Weekender: 15 picturesque UK towns for a pre-Christmas break

by Gemma Bowes

Christmas was not really a thing in Shakespeare’s day. There’s Twelfth Night of course, and a line in Hamlet (and did you know that Falstaff’s red-nosed drinking buddy, Bardolph, is believed to be the model for Rudolph?) ... yet the Bard only used the C word three times in his writing. How we celebrate today (or did before Black Friday and vegan wellington) is really Charles Dickens’ doing, with roots dating back no further than the 1840s. But that won’t stop Shakespeare’s birthplace going full-throttle on the festivities.

The house where he was born, now the Shakespeare’s Birthplace museum (£17.50/£11.50) is draped in winter foliage by local floral designers until 5 Jan, with exhibits telling how Tudors spent the 40 days prior to Christmas fasting and praying, with houses only decorated on Christmas Eve. Tudor Wassailing is revived from 30 Dec-1 Jan, with cups of traditional hot spiced cider to try. Tudor World (£6/£3), an interactive museum, has Christmas quizzes and atmospheric evening Christmas carol tours with (not Tudor but Victorian) “Ebeneezer”.

Further Tudor and medieval traditions, local history and more Bard facts than you can shake a spear at are covered on a town tour with Stratford Town Walk (£6/£3, daily, even on Christmas Day). Stallholders dress the part at the Victorian Christmas market today and tomorrow, with funfair and light displays.

Pick up gifts Uncle Drosselmeyer would approve of at the Nutcracker, a year-round Christmas shop on Henley Street; vinyl and collectables at Henley Street Antiques Centre; and artisan cheese from Paxton and Whitfield.

You should probably see some theatre. A Christmas Carol at the Attic Theatre (9 Dec), The Nutcracker, or comic show Did We Mention the Free Mince Pies? at The Bear Pit (19-20 Dec) are good options.

Where to eat? All ingredients come from within Warwickshire at 33 The Scullery, where December’s menu has roasted vegetable and walnut crumble or slow-braised local game with mulberry gin and puff pastry topping. Former OFM young chef of the year Paul Foster is chef-patron of Salt, doing clever cooking such as partridge with parsley ketchup and cured halibut with pear, kohlrabi, buttermilk and dill.

Three miles out of town, well-regarded Baraset Barn Restaurant (doubles from £140 room-only) added 16 bedrooms (neutral but with wild fabrics) this year.

See link to the article: 

Market Cross. Photograph: Stuart Black/Alamy

Planning Permission for an 80 bed hotel in place of Debenhams

Dec 2019

Formal Consultation is in progress to build an 80 bedroom hotel

with retails units at the current Debenhams site. 

You can email comments or questions to Eddie Wrench by 7th January on

Application(s) reference: 19/03319/FUL   

Proposed demolition and construction of 6 no. retail units (Use Class A1/A3) and an 80-bed hotel (Use Class C1)

33 - 35 High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6AU, ForBlue Coast Stratford LLP

The application, plans and any other documents submitted may be viewed at  or by using the link below:

Planning Application Documentation (For use with electronic consultations only).

If you have any queries on the proposal please contact the case officer Eddie Wrench.

Tel: 01789 260338 or the Planning Development section - Tel. 01789 260303. 

Or email FAO Eddie Wrench.

Stratford's Christmas Windows Dazzle!

Dec 2019

Shopkeepers in the frame for a Double Window of Opportunity in Stratford’s prestigious Christmas Competition

Shopkeepers won’t be ‘paned’ to discover they could still be in the frame to win Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Christmas Window Competition, despite two winners being announced.  It was a transparent victory for Cosy Chic Pet Boutique and Dr C P Grey Opticians, the two winners of this year’s competition as voted by the Stratforward BID panel but there are still winning spots up for grabs. 

Vote for your favourite Christmas Window 

For the first time, the public can vote for their favourite Christmas themed window. Votes can be made on the Stratforward website or Facebook and Instagram posts. The closing date is Sunday 8 December. Voters get the chance to win £50 vouchers at a local business of their choice. 

Dr Roy Lodge of Stratford Lights Committee, head judge of the Stratforward BID panel (which also included Stratford Herald editor Richard Howarth and members of the Stratforward team) congratulated the two shops, both local independents, for winning joint first for their stunning displays. “Dr Grey’s windows are as eye-catching as their options of frames! Simply spec-tacular!” he said. “And Cosy Chic Pet Boutique has made great use of their space creating a fantastic display full of charm. It was impossible to separate the two.”

Winning Opticians

Nick Grey from Dr C P Grey Opticians, which won the competition for the second year in a row, said: “Greys Opticians is thrilled to be joint winners of this competition. Grace puts a huge amount of effort into our window displays all year round, not least at Christmas, so it’s great for her creations to get this recognition. She’s outdone herself this year, we can’t find a frame big enough to fit the reindeer!”.

Winning Pet Boutique

Courtney Savannah from Cosy Chic Pet Boutique said: “We’re so delighted to have won! It feels like the perfect start to a wonderful first Christmas in my shop. From everyone here at Cosy Chic, we woof you a Merry Christmas!”. 
Outstanding Displays

Scouring the town centre, the Stratforward panel noted many outstanding displays including El Greco which was awarded the Best Illuminated Building title; Gemini, with its dramatic effect where each window was framed with garlands, was awarded a Highly commended; as was Daisy Chain for its detailed attractive display.

Roly’s Fudge excelled itself with the creative touches taken by the shop’s team. Carluccio's gigantic circular wreath was also widely admired and Laura Ashley made the most of its large window by creating a traditional heart-warming scene.  Stratford Sweet Shop’s upside-down Christmas tree also caused much amusement. And of course, Pragnel deserves acknowledging for another stunning light display making Wood Street glow!

Shop Local this Christmas 

Stratforward Marketing and Events Manager, Tor Wilkes said: “Stratforward organises the Stratford Christmas Window Competition to recognise the hard work and thought behind the window displays and hopes to remind people of the pleasure of coming into town.  

“Shopping local is so important especially at Christmas and it’s critical to the survival of many businesses.  

“Keep your eyes peeled for our adverts and posts, to promote Stratford over Christmas. They are based on the popular 48 page Stratford Christmas brochure which has inspiration on gift ideas from Stratford shops and other businesses. Supporting your local town really matters.

Stratford Christmas Window Competition Winners 2019

Images: Nick Grey of Greys Opticians, Courtney Savanah of Cosy Chic Pet Boutique

Last Chance to Vote for your Favourite Christmas Window

Dec 2019

Vote NOW for your favourite Christmas Window

in Stratford-upon-Avon to win £50!

Which is your favourite Christmas window display in town?  There are some great displays.  Take a walk around town and let us know your favourite to have a chance to win £50 in vouchers at a town centre business of your choice. Last day to enter is Sunday 8th December.

The winning voter will be chosen at random on Monday 9th December.  

Vote NOW for your favourite. Click to vote on our website here