The Business & Retail Group
Henley – a 21st Century Market town
Henley, with its privileged position on the Thames and close to London, has been a thriving market town for hundreds of years. It is a well known today as tourist destination, with a worldwide reputation for the annual Henley Regatta and many cultural Festivals including Music, Literary, Food, Film and Rewind. The Henley Partnership is promoting Henley as ‘the most famous small town in England’.
Yet we should never forget that in a town of Henley’s size its main economic powerhouse for growth, development and sustainability is its business and retail community. The stronger that is, and the easier it is to grow the client base and to have access to the right employee talent, the better that is for the whole community. And, particularly in recessionary times like now, a business community can gain enormous advantages from coming together to share ideas, co-learn, support each other and influence policies affecting business in the area.
The Commercial face of Henley
Business and Retail The face of Henley business has been steadily changing over the last 50 years. According to figures gathered by SODC in 2011, Tourism, Hospitality and the Arts together provide approximately 15% of the business base of the town and surrounds. Whilst retailers are, not surprisingly, the most obvious form of commercial activity to most residents and visitors, they represent only 7.8% of Henley’s employers. The Professional Services sector, including lawyers, real estate, financial advisory, marketing and IT services now accounts for well over 45% of Henley’s local business base.
The Henley Partnership is keen to build membership and involvement across all of the above Business and Retail sectors through a newly structured Business and Retail Group. It is our belief that, by coming together, ideas can be pooled, successful initiatives can be fostered and local expertise can be called upon.
We realise that the sub-sectors within a Group such as this may have different needs and interests – possibly even conflicting ones on occasion, but believe that all will benefit in promoting the profile of the town’s varied commercial sector. This will depend largely on Go-to-market models : Retailers will always need increased footfall, whereas that is largely irrelevant to the majority of professional services who access their clients through other means. We therefore foresee opportunities, for example, for Retailer members to connect with The Partnership’s Tourism and Hospitality Group too, on issues related to increasing footfall.
The Aims of the Group
The Group aims to offer support and develop frameworks for Henley businesses and retailers to work together, in partnership, for their own success and for the good of Henley.
We aim to be the ‘focal point’ for local commerce, offering both strong Networking opportunities and a vehicle for defining and supporting Henley business priorities. To that end we are currently undertaking soundings and surveys of our members and other local businesses so that we can understand more precisely what local businesses and retailers want today. The Chair and Steering Committee always welcome input on this subject.
The more feedback we have from local businesses, the more effective the Business and Retail Group can be in inputting and guiding the Local Authorities on policies and grants related to promoting the commercial success of the town, and making Henley an even more attractive place for businesses and shops to set up.
In addition, as part of the overall Henley Partnership, we believe that there is scope to help Henley businesses develop mutually rewarding and productive relationships between Tourism, the Arts, the Environment & the broader community.
The Benefits of joining the Business and Retail Group include:
- Have a voice in Henley, to help influence what happens on the business agenda and business support for the town
- Participate in Henley events to increase the profile of your organisation
- Network and take up the opportunity to interact and learn more about the breadth and depth of capabilities within the town itself, with promotion and partnering potential
- Involve yourself and your business in a variety of aspects of the broader community: public, private, business, voluntary, charity, environment
- Benefit from opportunities for professional development and experience through The Partnerships Workshops, Masterclasses and meetings
- Gain access to groups, organisations and individuals within the Arts, Tourism and Hospitality industries in Henley
- Join in actively with the Henley business and retail community to help the town thrive and prosper
So, if you would like to be part of this process, and part of building Henley’s business and retail community into one of the most attractive, vibrant and sustainable in the country contact JULIE PERIGO, Chair of the Business & Retail Group, 07795 063 674
Become a Member and come along to our Events and Workshops
We are very keen to hear from organisations which would be willing to offer their professional expertise for Workshops and Masterclasses, in fields such as Law, Marketing, Social Media, IT and Financial Planning. Also any local firms who would like to sponsor, or part sponsor, the Group’s functions.
Ongoing Survey regarding what you would like to see the Partnership doing and involved in
The Henley Partnership is very grateful to local businesses for taking the time to fill this in.
Living Advent Calendar Nominated for an Award!
Henley's Living Advent Calendar has been nominated for a Towns Alive Award!
See website for 2012 event