Blog #13 – Spending my Sunday morning working out the details for the new ‘Opposition Man of the Match’ prize. – It is something new we are doing this season as part of our improved sponsorship with the 1st team at Cliffe Football Club. The clubs players will decide who wins it and hopefully it will build better links with the football community. This sounds very strange to say, but Good luck to all the opposition players! Blog #12 LRB Trophies have just ticked another box on our list of ‘things to do’ – We’ve just signed off our first Football Kit order with our suppliers. Hopefully this will be the first of many in the future. We are looking to expand the company as much as possible, while at the same time, keeping our current Trophy and engraving customers happy. We will also continue our values and focus on our great levels of customer services. The new kit will be heading to a junior league team and we wish them all the best for the new 13/14 season ahead. We will publish more photos when it arrives at our HQ. Blog #11 – Taken from this weeks ‘Business Matters’ Newspaper column: ~ The modern high street has ’empty shop syndrome’. It’s not just Selby, our nearby local hubs in Snaith, Sherburn and Tadcaster have it as well. When I started my company in 2011, one of the first things on my list was to go out and rent a nice shop. ‘This must be easy’ I thought, as at the time Gowthorpe had two or three ready and waiting. We decided that the old Booze Busters shop would be ideal and enquired about it. After many phone calls and countless emails my options became very limited, admittedly we had a very small budget to work with at the time, but I didn’t want to go bust before we even started. Sadly it is still empty today. Many estate agents and owners wanted a huge bond or a never ending contract. Could I have a 3 month trail I asked? The reply was very short. Could I give it a lick of paint for free and see how I get on? I asked, again the answer was negative. If something is done about this, then the high street would be buzzing again. Recently I read a report about our empty shops being turned into homes. I think this could be a positive idea. For a start it will create jobs for builders and decorators. Anything to add the all important ‘footfall’ into the high street is good for jobs and businesses. Thinking forward, while this process is being put into place, small shops and businesses might be helped by these powers into expanding to bigger premises or extending the premises they already have. This will create even more local jobs. Blog #10 – When I started my newspaper column earlier on in the year, I included a section called ‘the big 10′. This involved asking business owners and managers the same ten questions and adding the different answers to the column. It was great to hear their views, so I will add these to the blog at various stages. The first one is answered by Daniel Richardson from Serenity Studios Limited Position: Co-Owner ~ Number of people working at your company: Two. Q1, One way Selby can be improved easily or cheaply. ~ No Parking Charges. Q2, If I gave you £100, how would you spend it within your company? ~ A photographic paper backdrop for shoots & more props. Q3, If I gave you £1 million to improve Selby, How would you spend it? ~ To reduce business rates in Selby to attract more shop/store owners. Q4, Selby’s main tourist attraction? ~ The Abbey. Q5, One reason for a shopper to visit Selby. ~ Variety of shops. Q6, How many hours do you work each week? ~ 40+ hrs. Q7, One reason to be proud of Selby. ~ Community spirit in Selby and its surrounding villages. Q8, One thing you would change about Selby? ~ The number of empty shops/units. Q9, Will you still be trading in Selby in 5 years time? ~ Would hope to be yes, either from a studio or freelance/location. Q10, Best way to unwind locally. ~ My personal favourite is a walk with my family at Skipwith Common to grab some family pictures. Exciting news from last night, LRB Trophies won a ‘retweet’ from Theo Paphitis via his twitter account. The ‘Small Business Sunday’ competition, shortened to the twitter hashtag, #SBS, was created by multi millionaire Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is famous as a Dragon on BBC2’s Dragons Den and is also Chairman of Ryman Stationery. He also a mentors and invests in many other businesses. He was once chairman of Millwall FC. Each week Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him via @TheoPaphitis and describe their business in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. The tweets to @TheoPaphitis #SBS are reviewed and each week by Theo and he chooses his favourite lucky six. He has over a three hundred thousand followers who will see the news and prize information, this will hopefully provide a massive boost to the chosen businesses winners. LRB Trophies owner Steve Butler will also get to meet Theo in person at a later date. The LRB Trophies twitter account has already had hundreds of ‘congratulation’ tweets from all around the world. We have also been allowed to create our own profile on the theo paphitis website. Owner Steve is delighted with the win as he has tried for over a year to get a reply. This comes a week after a brief twitter conversation with another famous dragon, Duncan Bannatyne about restaurant recommendations in the Lake District during Steve’s week away. Blog #9 Exciting news from last night, LRB Trophies won a ‘retweet’ from Theo Paphitis via twitter. The Small Business Sunday competition, shortened to the hashtag, #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is famous as a Dragon on BBC Dragons Den and also Chairman of Ryman Stationery. He is also a mentor and investor to many other businesses and was once chairman of Millwall FC. Each week Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him via @TheoPaphitis and describe their business in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. The tweets to @TheoPaphitis #SBS are reviewed and each week by Theo and he chooses his favourite lucky six. He has over a three hundred thousand followers, this will hopefully provide a massive boost to the chosen businesses winners. LRB Trophies owner Steve Butler will also get to meet Theo in person at a later date. – Visit our twitter account @LRBTrophies to see all the businesses sending congratulation tweets. Blog #8 – Parking Issues – I regularly speak to my customers who visit our showroom. The improvements to the high street are high on our conversation list. After we discuss the empty shops (more to come on this subject in future columns), parking spaces and parking charges are next. Having visited nearby towns such as Beverley and Pontefract with free (or low cost) parking, it was noticeable that both their high streets are a busier place to be. The first thing to note is that they are both pedestrianised. Have any of you ever wondered what Gowthorpe would be like without any traffic? Would we have as many empty shops if more people could be guaranteed to walk around quietly and safely? How would we drive around the town centre I hear you ask? Well with traffic light adjustments, traffic could easily use the Millgate and Portholme road loop, and of course we have our multi-million pound bypass to help. How many of the Selby Times readers drive for 20 miles or half an hour to monks cross or the white rose centre just because you can park for free close to the shop door. At the moment we have two large car parks sat empty, doing nothing. The spaces down the side of the blue fence at Abbey Leisure & Selby Town FC’s ground and the old Do It All are waiting for the next owner to come along, but why don’t we in the meantime, clean them up and use them for Free parking? Blog #7 – Version one of a newspaper column I did recently. It was later edited to be themed on Jobs in the local area. – As the world rapidly moves forward, I find myself trying to keep up to date with various online groups such as the Save our Selby SOS facebook group. I was recently asked by them to choose a winner and present an award to a local photographer who highlighted the positiveness of our town centre in the build up to Christmas. The winning photograph had a number of elements in it to help me make it win the prize. First of all it had Selby’s biggest tourist attraction in it. How many of us have actually visited Selby Abbey other than for a wedding or a school trip many years ago? When I was a kid, the roof was accessible on a bank holiday Monday. I remember my father making me climb the million steps up and up to the top. But once we got to the top it was well worth it. The view of Brayton Barff one way, Wistow Lordship to the other. Also in the photo is the market place, again, how many of us use the market? (remember we are famous as the ‘Market’ town of Selby) In future columns I will look at ways we can improve Market day, but try and go buy your fruit and veg from the stool near the post office, or buy a brew and a bacon butty from the van and have a look around. You never know, you might buy something! Blog #6 – Just returned home from a week away in the Lake District – would highly recommend anyone going to such a great part of the UK. I would also suggest going to a great eating place called ‘Porto’ in Bowness. This was recommended to me by Duncan Bannatyne (from BBC Dragons Den) via twitter! Look the place up, and go if you can. We will be returning soon to try some of the other items on the menu. it’s also highly rated on trip advisor. – Am now sat back at the desk and have fired up the laptop. Only 147 emails to look at! Blog #5 – It’s all go in the LRB Trophies office today. Just enough time to squeeze in a quick Blog entry. This time last year we had gone quiet after the busy ‘presentation season’, but we still have lots of presentation orders left to complete. Two big boxes arrived today so our production team (Janet & Andrew) are checking them over. With my other hat on, I’ve finished writing the AGM treasurers report for the local football club I am involved with. I’ve also rejigged a piece for my newspaper column that I wrote a few weeks ago to make it more relevant to the current goings on. Hopefully this will be printed in the Selby Times newspaper next week. In other news, I have taken a few phone calls from a film production company regarding the car parking problem in our town. They are due in tomorrow to discuss some ideas they have. More news to follow on this when I get it.