Stirling’s business community has demonstrated strong growth over the past two years with more than 40 businesses opening since the start of the pandemic.
Despite the trading difficulties caused by lockdowns and Covid restrictions, 44 retailers – most of them independents – have launched new businesses in the city since March 2020.
They have been championed by the city’s BID (Business Improvement District) Go Forth Stirling which has introduced a range of projects and initiatives to support business owners.
Go Forth Stirling Project Director Danielle McRorie-Smith is delighted with the spirit shown by the city’s business community through such tough times.
She said: “I’m thrilled to see that, despite all the challenges of lockdowns, restrictions and the tricky winter period we have just experienced, most of our businesses have managed to thrive and so many new businesses have opened.
“It takes a lot of bravery and confidence to make that leap of faith during such a challenging period and I’m pleased to see that over 40 businesses have opened since March 2020 with more set to come on board.
“It’s also amazing to see just how many independent businesses Stirling has – we have a fantastic spirit of local entrepreneurship which sets Stirling apart from other cities.
“It illustrates the confidence people have in Stirling and their trust and commitment to the city and we are reassured to see business growth stand firm here.
“As Stirling’s BID, we are committed to building that confidence and doing all we can to help businesses combat the challenges they face.
“And we can assure our business community that we will continue to be there for them and support them moving forward.”
Evelyn Tweed, MSP for Stirling, said she was encouraged by the resilience shown by the business community and urged people to shop local as the city continues to recover from the pandemic.
She said: “Since my election I have had the pleasure of visiting a range of new and established independent businesses across Stirling, many of whom have been dealing with very difficult times as a result of Covid.
“To see so many new businesses emerge in the face of a pandemic is inspiring and shows confidence that Stirling will recover as a unique and vibrant city.
“The value local businesses bring to communities cannot be understated – from the jobs they provide to the vibrant culture they help create around them, they are the bedrock of our thriving city.
“I will continue to encourage people to shop local to support our local businesses and economy.”
A total of 44 businesses have opened in the city centre since the pandemic began including German Doner Kebab in Murray Place, A Wee Favour in Friars Street, Green Earth Lovers in Maxwell Place and Unica Beauty Studio in Barnton Street.
A host of shops have begun trading in the Thistles such as Little Bambinos, Brand Outlet, the Fragrance Shop and Centre Stage Dancewear.
And Stirling’s historic Arcade has seen a similar boost with a range of diverse new retailers including Monny’s Gelateria, Oscar’s wine bar, Bella Zena Italian café and Creative Kitchens.
Several new shops – Cafe Sixty Four on Upper Craigs, Janna’s Baking on Port Street and Cafe Valeria on Friars Street – are also due to open soon.
Most of the new businesses are independent retailers whose diversity is recognised and celebrated in Go Forth’s Independent Stirling campaign.
Last August, Go Forth commissioned a promotional video showcasing Stirling’s
flourishing independent scene as part of the Independent Stirling campaign which highlights independent businesses and their owners.
The short film, voiced by Stirling Makar Laura Fyfe, features a range of the city’s businesses including Stirling Optical, Ginger Roots, Clever Clogs, Chester’s Coffee House and Tinkerbells Emporium.
Meanwhile the Independent Stirling website has been set up specifically to promote the city’s unique stores – www.independentstirling.co.uk – and independent businesses can easily be identified around the city by the ‘I’m In’ window stickers they display.
Other initiatives launched by the BID include online training programmes; digital grants and shopfront improvement grants; installing attractive flower displays throughout the city centre and the Street Stories initiative which transformed empty shop windows into animated works of art.
Stirling’s BID was set up in September 2017 and currently represents more than 600 local businesses with a key objective of delivering projects and services which improve the area’s trading environment to benefit businesses, shoppers and visitors.
The company goes to ballot in May in the hope of securing a further five-year term which would allow it to continue delivering initiatives for Stirling’s business community and funding current projects such as free Wi-Fi in the city centre and a team of Ambassadors.
For more information visit www.goforthstirling.co.uk