How’s business this summer? That’s the question local retailer Keith Clayton asks in an open letter to many of his retail colleagues in Haslemere. It’s also a question of interest to the Chamber across the wider membership – and beyond – as we seek out avenues for boosting regional business in all sectors. Please read Keith’s letter and respond by email either to Keith or the Chamber.

Keith writes: “I wondered if it is just me, or is the town rather quiet now as far as our retail businesses goes?

“I know it’s August, I know about Brexit, I know as retailers we always have excuses, I know people are buying experiences rather than goods, I know about fashion and weather and I know in my 50+ years in retail it’s been quiet before.

“But do there seem to be more quiet days, closer together?

“It’s just that everyone I speak to, throughout the country, tells me it is quiet, in many cases desperately quiet. Reps and retailers tell me of their concern for the future, and in the jewellery trade many independents are closing. With empty units in our town, and others who are trying to sell their leases I’m not sure that our outlook is fantastic?

“A rep I saw yesterday, who lives near delightful leafy Rickmansworth (and once owned a retail jewellers in Cranleigh) told me he’d not realised just how lovely Haslemere is as a town and how unusual it is to see so many successful independent retailers.

“He travels a lot and goes to some great towns big and small, but he reckoned Haslemere is unusually special. ‘So many towns are all the same, Haslemere stands out with independent retailers.’ Admittedly that was based only on a 10- minute walk around the High Street.

“SO….. I just wondered if there is ANYTHING we can do TOGETHER to improve our lot before it becomes too late?”