Before becoming the Mayor of Frome I owned and worked as the independent trader of Frome Wholefoods. Independent traders are by their very nature independent. We own our own business to make our own decisions, possibly without consulting anyone. We want to work according to a personal philosophy or idea of how a business, in my case a shop, should work. In this way I could modify things in Frome Wholefoods when ever I liked to respond to customer demand or to the many local or national things that impact on trade. Whether reacting to the financial crash or the impact of the Independent market, knowing the shifting needs of customers is crucial. Chatting to people when they came in the shop was a vital way of keeping in touch with change. This friendly banter enabled me to know what customers wanted and then react quickly to meet the need.
As an ifF councillor I can rarely act in isolation, I know that I am part of a group. Together we aim to reflect Frome people and the needs of a developing town. We think independently, debate enthusiastically and agree to act together in the end. As Mayor I have the task of representing the views of the town to the council and the council to the town. So the shop skill of listening and chatting to people is handy. Of course I can’t possibly be in touch with everyone and I know that what is right for say independent traders may not be right for toddlers or tourists to name a few groups. For ideas brought to the council to move on there is a long list of organisations and people that need to be consulted. Things take longer… much longer to get to the point of action and inevitably things don’t always go my way.