Meandering through the French market in town last week I was amazed to watch some of our stallholder friends from across the English Channel stopping for a lunch that included a 1pm glass of wine!
This got me thinking of shop opening hours across Europe where, for most of the warmer countries, the two-hour closing for lunch and a siesta is the norm. These shops are then open well into the evening to accommodate tourists and working locals.
Drop into any town on the continent that welcomes throngs of visitors and you will see most business open well into the night.
Not only does this make more use of town centres, it also maximises profits for those traders and makes for a safer high street.
Walk down Montague Street any time after 7pm and, apart from the restaurants to the sidings, it’s as dead as a dodo.
I have touched on the subject before, but could Worthing accommodate a late-night shopping evening?
We could provisionally look at once a month through the summer season and, if all the major stores came on board, we could offer a shopping and eating offer to rival many along the south coast.
In turn this would also attract more visitors to the town centre, multi-storey car parks (now in council hands) could offer special evening offers and become a new revenue stream, and restaurants and cafes would benefit from shoppers stopping for a bite to eat.
We could even go as far as holding pop-up late-night town centre markets and entertainment on the soon-to-be-newly-constructed bandstand.
This, of course, would only work on the ‘build it and they will come’ theory.
It would need you lovely people to support a late-night Worthing offer and I would be intrigued to hear some input from your good selves.
If there is enough interest I will certainly look at putting the ideas to those that can make it happen at the Town Centre Initiative, council and chain stores.
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