Made you look, made you stare!

Press Release: 04/04/2014

AbbArt Ltd, of Warwick Lane, Wickham

Photo: AbbArt Ltd, of Warwick Lane, Wickham

Did this headline catch your eye? Well ‘catching eyes’ is exactly what 25 businesses from around the Winchester District are hoping to do after attending a workshop on how to create show-stopping visual displays.

The workshop, held in Bishop’s Waltham on Monday evening, was delivered by visual display experts Made You Look Made You Stare, whose clients include such high profile names as Wedgewood, Harrods and Selfridges.

The course was arranged by Winchester City Council’s Market Towns Development Officer, Heidi Isa, and was offered to participants for free thanks in part to some funding received from Hampshire County Council to assist in promoting the county’s market towns.

Cllr Rob Humby, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

With ever-increasing pressure from out-of-town and internet shopping, it is essential that we arm our high street businesses with the skills they need to remain competitive. We want them to create the kind of shopping experience for which people will return.

Participants came from Denmead, Wickham and Bishop’s Waltham, and represented a wide variety of high street businesses including gift shops, cafes and bakeries. Those who attended from Wickham are able to put their skills to good use straight away with a window competition, judged by the public, being held over the Easter holidays.

Sophie Lombard, co-owner of Confiserie Verdonk chocolate and sweet shop in Wickham, said:

I really enjoyed the training course and I'm looking forward to putting my new skills into practice for the shop’s Easter display.

Workshop instructor Janet Billings, who has over 25 years’ experience in visual displays, praised the responsiveness of those on the course. She said:

It was a pleasure to share my experience with such a receptive collection of local retailers. I hope I have inspired the retailers to take a fresh look at their business and that they will soon start to see an improvement in their business and the high street collectively.

The workshop formed part of a wider programme of events, marketing and training, aimed at retaining and enhancing the vibrancy of Winchester’s market towns.