The new chairman of a revived traders organisation is hoping to boost the profile of a ‘vibrant and eclectic’ shopping district in Bognor Regis.
Simon Goodale, the owner of GB Music Retail in Aldwick Road, has taken the helm of the West End Shops and Traders’ Organisation, which represents Bognor’s businesses and attractions west of the pier.
The 57-year-old said the area was home to a ‘such a diverse selection of businesses’.
“It’s different, it’s not your standard high street,” he said.
“It’s a vibrant area, it has an eclectic mix of shops and business, and eateries and pub.
“It’s both day time and evening trade in a nice part of Bognor.”
However because of its location, which is a ‘bit detached from the main part of town’, he and other traders believe more could be done to raise its profile.
While there have been various initiatives in the past, Mr Goodale hopes reviving the trader’s association will bring ‘a bit of energy’ to the efforts. “The idea is to become a bit more of a collective voice so that we can raise awareness of the area,” he said.
“I think this is important because Bognor gets such an influx of people during the summer season, and at times during the winter season as well.
“We’ve got some ideas to put on events so that local people as well have a reason to come down and have a look.”
Mr Goodale, who lives in Midhurst but is preparing to move to Bognor, has been getting to know the area since taking over the shop somewhat spontaneously in March.
He said he had popped in earlier in the year with his family to buy some equipment – and ended up buying the shop.
The store is run by one of his three sons, Ed, who – as a singer songwriter – ‘could not be happier’ working in the business, and is helped by Simon’s wife Irene, a former nursery assistant.
Marine Ward councillor Jim Brooks said he was delighted the traders’ association had a new chairman and committee.
He said the west end shopping area, which is home to 100 businesses, was ‘very important’ to Bognor and ‘a big attraction for bringing people into the town’.
“While we welcome investment in the town centre, we must remember the other areas, particularly the West End,” he said.