"High street is still there and needs support" - coming together to promote local businesses and create Christmas in Ilkley
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From financial planners to fitness, toy shops to takeaways and bridal shops to beauticians the new website, #IlkleyIsOpen, is a listing site for businesses in Ilkley that are staying open for customers and the community during the month long lockdown which was imposed from last Thursday.
It says whether they are doing delivery, click and collect, takeaway food and also opening times and contact details.
Clive Allen, of Westbrook Agency, which specialises in branding, graphic design, websites, and social media, came up with the idea after buying a coffee from the cafe La Stazione across from his office.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I was chatting to one of the owners and he said 'here we go again, how do we tell people we are still open?' I said we needed to do exactly that and tell everyone who is open in Ilkley so that residents, and while we won't have many visitors, people for any reason coming to town, they know what is available. Within half an hour of finishing my coffee we had got a brand registered and plans to get it on social media."
Businesses can now register themselves on the site and change their details as the nature of lockdown changes.
Many of the businesses in Ilkley have diversified and changed their business models to adapt to trading under coronavirus regulations.
For example, one fish and chip shop went drive-thru and The Addingham Pizza company, that primarily catered at events, opened up a pizza takeaway in a unit.
Mr Allen also appealed for consumers, who he realises will be doing Christmas shopping online for safety and convenience reasons, to still consider buying from local and independent traders.
He added: "It is not just about now but in the run up to Christmas. To keep businesses going, give them confidence and to let them know there are people out there helping and supporting them.
"I hope there will be that same goodwill and I hope that when we come out of lockdown there will be a flurry to the high street. Ilkley has some really good quality shops and restaurants and other places and we want to remind people that they are there and not to forget about them."
Meanwhile, IlkleyBID is also working on a Christmas campaign that can be adapted to whatever the restrictions may be following the anticipated national lockdown end on December 2.
It is working on the DiscoverIlkley website which also lists the shops and businesses of IlkleyBID members and has signed up to LoyalFree, a promotion app which showcases area information for locals and visitors, exclusive deals and loyalty schemes, events and trails. Around 700 app users have signed up since August.
Welcome Elves will be on hand when shops reopen to guide people to where they need to be as well as monitoring crowds and social distancing, there will be festive music played over sound systems, empty shop units will be painted and there are plans from Ilkley Town Council for a virtual switch on of the Christmas lights.
Helen Rhodes, IlkleyBID manager said: "We have tried to think of things we can do whether there is lockdown or shops open. Even if shops are not open, there will still be people walking around because we live here as well as shop here so it is about still trying to give it a festive feel."