Small firms hold key to a booming town

SMALL businesses are the key to the future of Bognor Regis, a member of the town’s chamber of commerce has said.

Paul Wells said he welcomed the investment which several of the town’s smaller shops had made in their premises in recent months.

“There are some positive news stories coming out of the small stores in the town centre.

“We hear all the bad news about the larger stores but, in terms of what is going on, there is some good work going on with some of the smaller stores,” he told last week’s meeting of the chamber’s executive committee.

“All businesses have to adapt to the economic climate and what customers want at the moment. It is also a case of websites working alongside the retail premises.

“With all the big stores closing down, we should be focusing on the smaller-type businesses that have something of interest for people to visit.

“Large stores have their place on the high street but we are a seaside resort and people expect something different.”

Nick Stuart-Nicolson, the chamber’s president and chairman, said national and local retailers were needed for a successful town centre.

“We should rejoice in the smaller shops which are improving themselves.

“We need a mix of national companies and smaller stories. But all of them have to embrace the new e-commerce world.”