A BIG marketing campaign is planned to publicise Steyning as the place to be for a spot of shopping and a coffee, says new Steyning and District Chamber of Trade chairman Alan Marsh.
Following the departure of Julie Belton earlier this year, Mr Marsh - the town’s postmaster - has stepped up to the plate as the new chairman and hopes to make a difference.
“I have been in the post office business for 17 years, which gives me a fair idea of what goes on in the town,” said the 66-year-old.
Last year, the chamber of trade launched a new website for the 60 businesses it represents, and this year Mr Marsh said the team would focus on marketing the town to improve its footfall.
“It’s such a nice little shopping town and it’s quite compact. It’s a nice place to come and have coffee and there’s free car parking. So we’re going to market it and boost its exposure,” he said.
Mr Marsh will not be working alone. For the first time, the chamber has created a committee to help support the new chairman and his campaign.
“We have got to be careful and fit it in with other business activities as much as we can, so we have created a committee that will support the work.
“We have got a secretary and a vice-chairman, and if we all manage it a bit we’ll be able to do it,” he added.
Starting out in the motor trade, Mr Marsh has spent most of his working life representing manufacturers as a regional manager and has a wealth of experience in team-leading.
But, Mr Marsh recognises that there may be bumps in the road as the chamber sets out to market Steyning in January of next year.
“We have concerns about all small towns at the moment. The business isn’t that regular - we tend to get quite large ups and downs, which we hope to even out with the marketing campaign,” he said.
As the town sets out to create its neighbourhood plan and sites for development are designated by the public, Mr Marsh said it might be a while before more houses were built and the volumes of residents increased.
“What we really need to do now is lift our exposure locally and get greater support from the local parish council. Without the chamber, we have no business connection with the council.”
“It’s important,” he added.