Town Centre Survey: Making the most of our independents

The Harrogate Advertiser’s Town Centre Survey found that 88.1% of people who responded used the town’s independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Town Centre Survey: We reveal what the people of Harrogate want

Harrogate must do more to look after its independent stores such as those in Westminster Arcade like Imagined Things.

Harrogate must do more to look after its independent stores such as those in Westminster Arcade like Imagined Things.

But our survey then went on to ask the public “what do the independents offer that the big chains don’t?”

The top five answers included things like: personal service, individual character, variety of product, higher quality and sense of local community.

Town Centre Survey: Results at a glance

But those responses do not quite convey the depth of respondents’ appreciation for what independents offer or the detailed comments they took the time to make in our survey both online and in print.

Town Centre Survey: What our readers said about their Harrogate town centre

Some chains remain as hugely popular as ever in Harrogate town centre.

But the survey showed that love of the ‘brand’ is no longer as deep or universal as it once was.

One reader seemed to sum up the general feeling best by pointing out that consumers’ taste had now changed.

Town Centre Survey: What our readers say are the BEST things about Harrogate

“Stop assuming you can force people to shop there by introducing more high street brands. People’s habits have changed.

“Instead, encourage unusual and independent businesses in a market style setting with products you can’t get online.”

Town Centre Survey: What our readers say are the WORST things about Harrogate

Another respondent spoke of independents’ “friendliness, more environmentally-friendly, using local produce and showing more local knowledge and willingness to connect with events in the local area.”

The final word among many words goes to another reader who said independents should be encouraged in Harrogate because they put more back into the town.

Town Centre Survey: Free parking on a Sunday and time to build a park-and-ride?

“Big chains exist to put money in the pockets of shareholders. They are not concerned at all with Harrogate or the people who live and work here.

“Any independent is to be preferred to any national/international name as it is actually possible that they care.”

Town Centre Survey: Calls for major changes to how Harrogate does markets - and to its biggest shopping centre