Emerging Project

Shop Windows

Idea: Annual high street shopfront competition

Chipping Barnet could host a shopfront display/design competition, potentially linked to one of the annual festivals such as the Medieval Festival or become a festival in itself. For the period of the competition, shopkeepers curate their window display, alongside associated events to bring people to the high street. Vacant units could be utilised, for example, local artists/groups/schools could partake. There could be a small prize for winners. If successful, it could happen quarterly to align with a future Events Programme (see the separate project). Residents ideas include incorporating into the Medieval Festival and including an Arts Trail.

Alongside these events, the council should review the existing Shopfront Design Guide to support high-quality design.

Why it is useful:

  • Encourage businesses to maintain shopfronts, and develop their merchandising with the aim to increase interest and custom from shoppers
  • Use as an opportunity to review the Shopfront Design Guide and communicate conservation area regulations (where relevant)
  • Drive footfall

Who needs to be involved:

  • Town Team: Champion
  • Event Organisers: Town Team, local businesses, other volunteers
  • Council: Support (lead review of Shopfront Design Guide)
  • Local businesses: Participate
  • Local artist / designers / schools
  • Potential partners: Barnet and Southgate College (link to relevant courses), Teenage Makers (see separate project)

How to get started:

  • Establish a Town Team’s Events Programme Sub-committee
  • Engage with local business, local artists/groups and test idea
  • Fundraising for advertising, events etc.
  • Secure permissions as required
  • Advertising campaign linked to town centre branding
  • Organise associated events/awards party

Viability considerations:

  • Funding opportunities: Advertising, event costs and awards could be covered through corporate sponsorship/crowdfunding. Large stores like Waitrose have a Community Matters Scheme that may add to a prize fund, and potential for the council to offer prizes/incentives e.g. free business rates for a month
  • Location: Whole high street
  • Resource: Requires businesses, volunteers/local groups to invest their time, energy and skills

Example: Ammanford’s Most Improved Shop Front Competition

Photographs were taken of businesses around Ammanford and then again a month later to see how businesses improved their shop fronts. They were then posted online and voted for by the public. A similar competition was launched in Hexham, as part of a bid to promote the town as shopping destination and retain its heritage character. Organised by the Civic Society, the competition coincided with the re-publication of the Shopfront Design Guide.