A string of events this year will bring people into Haslemere – but are we, as a business community, doing enough to support these events or capitalise on the opportunities delivered by increased footfall?

My questions are not meant as a criticism of any particular sector of the local economy, but rather as a stimulus for discussion and action across all sectors.

The questions were triggered this week when I received notification that Stepping Stones is staging a Conan Doyle weekend at its Undershaw campus in May. Undershaw was for a while Conan Doyle’s home – and where he wrote The hound of the Baskervilles.

With support from the Sherlock Holmes Society, the event is attracting national and international interest and is expected to attract a significant influx of visitors.

My thoughts turned to other upcoming events in the town, such as:

  • Haslemere Festival
  • Haslemere Fringe
  • Haslemere Classic Car Show
  • Haslemere Easter Bunny promotion
  • Haslemere Hares
  • St George’s Day
  • Haslemere Charter Fair
  • Haslemere Beer Festival
  • Haslemere Great War Memorial Project

All of these, and any other events that I may have omitted, have potential to unite townspeople and bring visitors into the area. And visitors are potential customers.

It’s a simplistic economic argument, I know, but the more that’s spent in our shops, pubs and restaurants, the more that filters through to suppliers, staff and the next tier of business: the professions and business services. And a lot can rub off on the commercial sector that lacks High Street visibility.

If the town is perceived to be booming ­– or at very least successful – all businesses stand to benefit.

One way to fuel that perception is for businesses at all levels to rally behind event organisers. Some may appreciate financial support, others marketing support – perhaps themed window displays, mentions in newsletters and on websites or social media. Perhaps a hyperlink to an event (or the organisers) website. Even linked special offers, too. In short: anything that demonstrates excitement about what is happening locally.

I’m not a retailer, so I can’t decorate a shop window. But I do have a website where with a bit of creativity I’m sure I could give the town and its events a helping hand. It’s ‘elementary…’

What’s your view?

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