What support is available?

The Shop Chester-le-Street project can offer a range of free support services to help new and existing businesses with the local area.

Our aim

The Shop Chester-le-Street project can offer a range of free support services to help new and existing businesses within the Chester-le-Street & District AAP area.

These are particularly focused on helping businesses build an effective online presence to market their services, with the aim of strengthening the local business community, encouraging more people to visit Chester-le-Street, and driving footfall to the town’s shops and other businesses. 

We do have a particular interest in supporting and promoting Chester-le-Street town centre, but businesses within the area that trade online or operate from home – whether or not they are a shop – are also very welcome to get involved.

Support for local businesses

Some of our specific areas of focus are listed below. We can tailor our support to the particular priorities and needs of each individual business.

To apply for support, just fill in the form here.

Digital marketing support

Google My Business: helping businesses set up their free listings on Google My Business – to ensure that their shops appear on Google Maps, and that the business owners can access and update the information that Google displays to its users.

Marketing planning: working with retailers to assist them in developing and implementing a marketing plan.

Social media training: providing one-to-one training and support to retailers in either setting up and using social media for the first time, adding their businesses to additional social networks, or learning how to use social media more effectively – making sure that the right messages are delivered via the right channels at the right time.

Content and images: showing businesses how to create effective video, capture great photographs, or write engaging content for their website, social media, or the press.

Websites: providing support on how to create and maintain a simple website, including topics such as search engine optimisation, selling online, and the use of platforms and tools like WordPress and WooCommerce.

Roam appClaim your venue's free listing on the Roam app

We are also helping local businesses claim and use their free listing on the Roam app, as part of the Roam Local campaign that the Shop Chester-le-Street project is supporting.

You can read more about how the Roam app helps businesses here, and the press release about our Roam Local campaign here.

Other retailing support

Festive window at the St Cuthbert's Hospice shop in Chester-le-Street. Photograph by Graham Soult
Festive window at the St Cuthbert’s Hospice shop in Chester-le-Street

Drawing from our own knowledge, and examples of good practice that we have seen all over the country, we can offer free support and mentoring in other areas of retail, including:

Kerb appeal – making a positive first impression on every customer, to entice them through the front door.

Visual merchandising – presenting the shop and its products in a way that delights the customer and encourages sales.

Customer service – making sure that every customer leaves the shop with a great experience, so that they tell their friends, spread the word on the business’s behalf, and can’t wait to come back.

Finding premises

Example of a shop unit available in Chester-le-Street. Photograph by Graham Soult
Example of a shop unit available in Chester-le-Street

There are always existing businesses in Chester-le-Street looking to relocate or expand – and new ones keen to trade in the town for the first time. Sometimes the hardest thing for a business looking for a shop unit is knowing where to start and who to talk to.

CannyInsights.com is well connected with landlords and agents in Chester-le-Street, so another part of the Shop Chester-le-Street project is about trying to connect those who have available property with those who want to occupy it.

If we have more occupied premises in Chester-le-Street, and fewer empty shops, visitors and businesses all benefit.

Promotion

Shop Chester-le-Street on Twitter
Shop Chester-le-Street on Twitter

We have our own @ShopChesterleSt accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as a place where we can share content by, and about, those businesses that we are supporting and mentoring.

Networking

Get three months' free membership of Durham Business Club

Every business we work with as part of the Shop Chester-le-Street project can benefit from a free, no-obligation three-month Durham Business Club membership – and half price for the year thereafter (approximately £2/week), if they choose to.

It’s a great way to help independent businesses further spread the word about what they offer, and link up with interesting and useful people across the region. Exciting things can happen when you introduce the right people to each other!