Hope blooms for new Rugby town centre shopping plan

Simon Ainley and colleagues at Garden Gate Flowers
Simon Ainley and colleagues at Garden Gate Flowers

An array of attractions and promotions are promised to lure more shoppers into the town centre – and encourage them to ‘love Rugby’.

Shops will open until 8pm on March 5 as part of the ‘1st Thursdays’ scheme, which retailers hope will become a monthly fixture.

And as the town centre faces increased competition from out-of-town retail parks, shopkeepers believe Rugbeians need to have their “passion reignited” for the town centre.

Simon Ainley, owner of Garden Gate Flowers in Regent Street, is chair of a group of retailers who came up with the idea. He said; “For people who may have fallen out of love with the town, 1stThursdays is a great way to reignite that passion.

“It is also drawing in people from outside the town to experience the fantastic range and quality of retailers we have. We will be putting on quite a show with street food, artisan produce, music and drama.”

Entertainment will range from an acoustic guitar set to Shakespearean sonnets with local musicians and actors.

Of the promotions on offer so far, customers spending £5 or more at Vanilla, will enter a lucky dip to win a range of prizes and at Etcetera the top raffle prize is a Radley handbag. Meanwhile, there will be 50 per cent off selected items at interior designer Nadine Rose.

Other attractions include the learning a new skill at Garden Gate, wine tasting at Bargain Booze and a wedding fair at Cinnamon and Marmalade.

Rugby’s first evening street food market will also be a feature, with traders from Leamington and Coventry among those serving hot food to shoppers. As more businesses sign up to join the 1stThursdays, the details will be publicised on www.loverugbytown.co.uk website and Facebook page.

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