First published Thursday, November 20, 2014
Dear Mr Sainsbury
Narberth prides itself on being a unique town in South Pembrokeshire, with a multitude of independent retailers each bringing something different to the retail mix. There are in amongst them a handful of well known names, although they could be easily missed.
The town has a reputation locally and considerably further afield for its eclectic mix of retail, hospitality and arts offering. It has taken a number of years of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears by many within the community to achieve, and there is a strong sense of pride intermingled with the community spirit that whispers along the streets. Narberth is living proof of how determination, vision and collaboration can deliver an overall value greater than the sum of its parts.
In this county, tourism is a major player economically. People come to view and enjoy the landscape, to explore the myths and legends, and to immerse themselves in the cultural experience on offer, particularly in places like Narberth. It is however widely accepted and understood that the economy of the county needs to continue to grow, develop and indeed diversify further to ease the pressure on the three key sectors that currently underpin it.
The Welsh Government Strategy for Tourism 2013 – 2020, Partnership for Growth seeks to develop the tourism product by improving quality and the range of offering. Narberth is already well placed to support this, and indeed the evidence from visitor surveys carried out in the last 7 years clearly demonstrates a growth in the number of visitors to the town, driven in part by the reputation of the destination as a unique, beautiful and predominantly ‘chain free’ market town.
Businesses are in business to ultimately make a profit, and a competitive and varied market place does support this. However, sometimes bigger is not always better and allowing smaller businesses space to breathe, develop, innovate and grow to an extent organically, provides greater variety and opportunity, and a stronger workforce made up of skilled, focused and capable individuals with a flair for entrepreneurship. When considering whether or not Narberth is the right place for a development, please take a moment to step back and consider not just the bottom line for your business, but the bigger picture, the one that looks forward to the future, a future that should look like a multi-coloured quilt of diversity in all sectors, not a one or two colour blanket that smothers individuality and independence.
First posted on OneNarberth