How many times do you hear that something can’t be found in Frome’s shops, or that people regularly drive to Trowbridge or Bath to go shopping? Well it’s true that, like any small market town, shops in Frome cannot stock everything. But you might just be surprised at what you can actually buy in town, and more often than not it’s no more expensive than some of the big brand shops elsewhere. To celebrate Frome’s eclectic retail offering, Frome Town Council and the Town Retail Group have joined forces to launch an early November Shop Local campaign between Sunday 1st and Saturday 7th November.
Statistics show that the more money we spend in our town centres the better the retail offering becomes. Increasing the amount you spend locally will enable shops to survive and expand, and also attract new shops and cafes to the town centre. In the last couple of years we have seen evidence of that with the arrival of Fat Face in the market place and the popular Cordero Lounge in the Westway. In fact, Frome is lucky in that it continues to buck national retail trends and still attracts new shops, restaurants and cafes. The town also continues to have a much lower percentage of empty retail properties than most English towns.
To add a twist to the shop local theme, the Town Council have arranged for seven local musicians, a performance poet and a children’s puppet show to perform in or outside various town centre shops and cafes’ on Saturday 7th November. The day will see some of Frome’s top performers in action, including Blues star Eddie Martin playing at Raves From The Graves in Cheap Street, Eddie will be playing songs as an unplugged one man band from his chart-topping releases “Live in Tuscany” and his Retrospective double album “Blues Took Me By The Hand”, both are available from Raves From The Grave. Former Dr Feelgood frontman Pete Gage will be playing at Crocker & Woods, Al O’Kane playing at Frome Wholefoods, Duo Griff Daniels and Nikki Maskell playing at Pacamorra in Catherine Hill and Dexters Early Breakfast playing at The River House café. Other performers include Richard Riley & Gina Valerie at the new ‘Top of The Hill’ gallery in Catherine Street, Fat Stanley’s sax player Vicki Burke switches to Celtic harp at the Naismith Robertson Gallery in Catherine Hill. Poet Hannah Teasdale reads at Hunting Raven Books, and for children there’s a superb Puppet show with Annie Aldam at Ellenbray in The Westway shopping Centre.
Town Centre Community Coordinator Mark Brookes said: “Whilst Frome continues to buck retail trends and has a much lower vacant shop rate than most towns, it’s still worth remembering that retailing, and especially independent retailing, can be a tough business. Buying your bread in the bakers, your meat in the butchers, your books in the bookshop and flowers in the local florists makes a big difference to the viability of a town like Frome. Shop Local Week is designed to remind us all of the excellent shops we have here, and on Saturday 7th November many of these shops will be hosting local performers. We hope that people will spend much of the day in the town, wander from venue to venue, enjoy the music and support the shops and cafes on their way”