Selling Rugby to high street names

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TOWN centre management company Rugby First has been persuading businesses to fill the town’s empty shop units.

It has negotiated financial incentives and visited neighbouring towns to tell expanding businesses what Rugby has going for it. Rugby First claims that, as a result, one new business was able to take advantage of a £3,000 moving in grant, half price solicitors fees and £1,000-worth of free accountancy advice.

Following a visit from Mary Portas, who is carrying out a national review of the high street for the Government, Rugby First stresses that it will be the hard work of local business people and not central Government that will ultimately save the high street. The company has also been speaking with landlords and agents of empty units to see if they can negotiate rent reductions or special financial deals in order to secure tenants for the properties.

However, it’s not just independents Rugby First has set their sights on. Aftab Gaffar, operations director at Rugby First, said: “We have also been investigating the up and coming brands and newer national retailer chains and making the first approach to them, putting our case forward as to why Rugby is a great town for them to move to.

“One thing is for sure, we aren’t going to sit back and do nothing. We will continue to fight hard to build on the success of our town centre. We will work with new and existing businesses to ensure that Rugby continues to develop a thriving retail and business community in the town centre.”

Beverly Thomas, of Etcetera, said Rugby First’s approach to landlords could pay off.

“Rugby First are to be commended for trying to get more businesses into Rugby.

“Generally, the smaller, private landlords are usually more accommodating than the bigger companies. Unfortunately it seems some would rather see their property empty than have to reduce the price of the rent, which doesn’t help anybody.”

If any business or landlords would like to find out more, contact Aftab Gaffar at Rugby First on 01788 569436.