Farquhar’s High Street meeting plea

Andrew Farquhar
Andrew Farquhar

Hawick businesses are being urged to “Have Your Say on £30K” at a crunch High Street regeneration meeting in the town hall on Tuesday night.

And those with a stake in the future of town centre trading are also being asked to join ‘breakout groups’ aimed at improving the look of the town, promoting the area and bringing in visitors.

Scottish Borders Council handed the Future Hawick group £30,000 earlier this year amid growing disquiet at a lack of parity with, and investment in, Galashiels.

And this week, the man at the forefront of High Street regeneration is calling for a large turnout at Tuesday’s meeting.

Speaking to the Hawick News, Andrew Farquhar said: “It is vital that business people, not only turn up to have their say on how we spend the £30,000, but also to share thoughts and ideas with us and to register to take an active part in the ‘breakout groups’ which are key to the success of this whole initiative.

“The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting will create the blueprint for the regeneration of our town centre and will provide evidence for future funding applications.”

The group have also secured the services of Bonnybridge based retail consultant John Cowan and will be supported by Scottish Borders Council.

Mr Cowan will give a presentation on ‘Improving Business Skills’ with the aim of ensuring customer service and loyalty, improving front-line staff management, business planning, merchandising, window dressing, shop layout and branding. Business owners will also be given the opportunity to sign up for free masterclass sessions and register an interest in bespoke training.

Speaking to the Hawick News this week, Mr Cowan, who has 35 years’ retail experience and has worked throughout North America and Europe, said: “Firstly, it’s important to talk the town up. Hawick is a wonderful place and it has a lot going for it and I am looking forward to Tuesday.”

Mr Cowan, who worked as aconsultant in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, added: “I have worked in Hawick in the past and am impressed by a lot of what I see. I can offer bespoke training, one-to-one training covering all aspects of the retail industry and can also provide World Host training aimed at meeting the specific needs of local businesses.”

Mr Farquhar added: “This is an exciting time for local businesses. It’s vital we have a large turnout and I would urge everyone to attend.” The meeting takes place on Tuesday in the town hall between 6-8pm.