Store boss urges town to ‘back high street’

Boyes Sale,Manager Chris Golder with staff and customers celebrating the event.130530 Richard Ponter
Boyes Sale,Manager Chris Golder with staff and customers celebrating the event.130530 Richard Ponter

The manager of a Scarborough shopping institution has urged shoppers not to allow the high street to go to rack and ruin.

Chris Golder, manager of Boyes, issued the appeal to shoppers as the historic outlet opened its doors to bargain hunters for its twice-yearly sale.

The event, once the highlight of Scarborough’s shopping calender, would regularly attract crowds of hundreds, who lined the surrounding streets to snap up a bargain.

However the event has fizzled out in recent years, so much so that when the sale opened on Friday, only a handful of shoppers were there when the door opened.

Since then, Mr Golder said tills have been ringing at his store, but fears that the internet is in danger of killing off town centres across the county.

“People should be supporting the high street. What you don’t want to see is tumbleweed in Scarborough.

“What we need to do is bring people in. We need something different to get people coming in to Scarborough, not York and Leeds, and to get them spending their pound notes here.”

Although he admits it had its shortcomings, he sited the divisive Bavarian market as an example of forward thinking, which he feels needs to be implemented if the high street is to combat the rise in internet shopping - that, and old fashioned customer service.

“I think the way people are shopping has changed over the last couple of years. The internet has played a big part in that, but what people don’t get is that personal shopping experience.

“The way shops can fight back is offer excellent personal service, and this will hopefully entice the customer back rather than choosing your item, pressing enter, and hope for the best.”

So far, 2013 has been cruel to Scarborough’s high street. National camera chain Jessops suddenly collapsed at the start of January, and entertainment giant HMV has struggled to cope in a market dominated by the web.

Last week, The Scarborough News revealed that footfall in the town was down over Christmas, although Scarborough town centre manager Nick Taylor told us that several stores were bucking the economic downturn,

Some independent traders were using social networking sites to help attract punters, and Mr Golder added: “Boyes are expanding, and we always offer good value products.

“At 9am we don’t get the queues that we used to, but looking at the cameras now, we’re busy - we just don’t get the queues like we used to.”