Trader says more can be done for Daventry businesses

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A TRADER who is closing his shop has called for more support for businesses in the town centre.

Steve Rhodes, who runs The Games Vault in Sheaf Street, Daventry, will be opening his doors for the last time on Saturday. Although he cites personal reasons for the closure, he criticised Daventry Business Partnership (DBP) and Daventry District Council (DDC) for not doing more to increase footfall and bring businesses into the town.

Mr Rhodes, who opened The Games Vault in November 2007, said: “I think the wardens do a very good job in helping to reduce trouble on the streets.

“I thought when the BID [Business Improvement District which pays for the DBP] was introduced, it was designed to bring more people into the town. They have said the footfall is increasing but I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the amount of people coming into the town.

“I look out of the window eight hours a day, five days a week and all you see are the same old faces”

He was also critical of the type of businesses that were coming into the town.

Mr Rhodes added: “When shops do close in the town, they are replaced either by a florist, a beauty salon or a complimentary health place.

“I have nothing against any of those businesses and I wish them all the very best for the future but it would be better to have something different in the town.”

DBP said that footfall in the town had gone up 6.4 per cent in May compared to the same period last year.

DBP manager Sally Halson said: “Through promotion, events and other marketing activity the partnership hopes to continue to increase the numbers of shoppers, visitors and businesses locating in Daventry. Many new and expanding businesses are attracted to the town and surrounding area because of its central location and planned continued growth.

DDC has said it is trying to make the town a more attractive place.

The authority’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder Chris Over said: “We should make this clear that changing the town is not going to happen in five minutes.

“DDC is trying to make the town as seductive as possible to be able to attract inward investment. Plans such as the WaterSpace development on Eastern Way Playing Field will help us achieve this.”

Mr Rhodes, who has just become a dad for the fourth time, says he does not have the time for family and the store.

He added: “In the current economic climate, you need a lot of time and energy to make a business work which I don’t have.

“It will be sad to close the doors for the final time as I think we were a good business and attracted people from across the East Midlands here and it offered something different to the town.”

The store has a 30 per cent discount on all items with 50 per cent off some ranges. and buy one get one free offers.

The gaming club at the store on Thursday nights will move to Daventry Town Football Club in Browns Road. The first meeting in the new home is on Thursday June 23. Mr Rhodes is looking for somewhere to host the junior gaming club on Wednesday nights.

He is also grateful for all of the help over the years. Mr Rhodes said: “Thank you to all of the customers, to those who have helped out and to the Daventry Express for all their help.