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Shaftesbury To Celebrate Its Many Independent Retailers

You’ll notice a new phrase appear on social media and in shop windows in Shaftesbury this summer with the hashtag, #IndyShaftesbury.

The town’s Chamber of Commerce is launching an initiative to celebrate the high percentage of independent businesses on Shaftesbury’s High Street. ‘Indy’ shops are considered good for the local economy and offer a reason for tourists to visit.

“There are 142 shops and businesses in the centre of the town. 102 of those are independent and that’s not even counting the Wincombe estate,” Chamber of Commerce Chairman David Perry explained. “We are very much an ‘Indy’ town.”

By the end of July, four new independent businesses will have opened in Shaftesbury’s town centre.

David Perry

A number of Shaftesbury’s independent shops are long established and David says that’s worth ‘shouting about’. “Some of them were here forty or more years ago, when I was at school,” David said.

Research suggests that unique, one-off shops prove attractive to visitors. “People shop for leisure,” said David. “You can’t have much fun going around the supermarket but going around independent shops is a leisure pursuit. You’re going to find lots of interesting stuff you haven’t found before. And there’s someone behind the counter who knows what they are talking about.”

The Federation of Small Businesses has revealed that cash spent at independent retailers recirculates within the local economy. “Out of every pound that goes to the big, out-of-town national stores, about five pence stays in the local community. When you shop with independents, then up to seventy pence stays locally. That’s a massive difference,” said David.

In 2005, the think tank, the New Economic Foundation, warned of the ‘death of diversity’ as many high streets become dominated by chains. They coined the phrase ‘clone town’ to define town centres which had lost their locally owned retailers.

David says the larger towns are more likely to be dominated by the chains. “You go to any big town, you’ll see the same shops. And when one of them crashes it leaves a hole in every large town in the country. If two or three of them close then you suddenly have lots of gaps. The joy of independent stores is that when one comes to its natural end, somebody else can come in and take the space. And you need that churn to keep the High Street lively,” David suggested.

“People will argue that visiting the supermarket is quicker than shopping at the independents,” David added. “It takes longer to go to the independents because you actually talk to people. And that’s not a bad thing.”

The Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce has arranged for printer Syd Guppy of Imprint to produce window stickers so that visiting and local shoppers can identify the independent traders. “This will start on the fourth of July, US Independence Day,” David said.

Independent shops that are not members of the Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce are asked to consider joining. “It is about local businesses coming together and doing something for the whole community. It’s not about what the chamber can do for you, it’s about what you can do for the Chamber. Together, we are stronger,’” said David.

You can contact the group through or call in and see David at Shaftesbury Wines.

Join us for breakfast on Thursday June 21st

We are excited to announce that the new owners of The High Street Cafe and Bakery are keen to take over hosting our breakfast meetings following the closure of our previous venue. We very much hope you will join us for our meeting next week and that you will enjoy our new location. The time, 7.45-9am, and the cost, £7, will remain the same. There will be a choice of a bacon sandwich or scrambled eggs on toast. Please let us know your preference when you book or if you have any other dietary requirements.

This month we look forward to hearing from Julia Markus who is the Business Outreach Officer for Dorset Skills and Learning. She will be talking to us about how an apprentice may be able to help our businesses.

Our networking meetings are friendly events with opportunities to introduce yourself without the need to stand on ceremony. We aim to provide a relaxed forum for local business people to spend time together for mutual support. Feel free to bring along business cards or literature and you are welcome to attend two meetings without joining The Chamber.

If you haven’t booked yet send us an email now or scroll down for more details! We’d love to hear from you if you would like the chance to speak at one of our future meetings. This is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise.

We look forward to seeing you!

Cattle Market Questionnaire

If you can’t make it to the Shaftesbury Cattle Market – Public engagement and Town Meeting at the town hall on June 11th you can still share your views on the cattle market site with this online questionnaire.

It is vital that we make as much noise as possible about the preservation of free parking!


David Taylor

I moved to the Shaftesbury area in 1999 after serving for 25 years in the RAF, retiring as a Wing Commander in logistics.  After working for Wiltshire Police as a Press Officer, I took over managing the voluntary-staffed Tourist Information Centre in 2007.  Needless to say we all strive to make Shaftesbury a popular location attracting visitors and local residents alike to enable our town to thrive.

Ward Goodman help The Botanical Candle Co. keep its flame burning bright

Ward Goodman, the Dorset based firm of Chartered Accountants and Independent Financial Advisers, are delighted to count The Botanical Candle Co. amongst their Shaftesbury based clients. The company, which started making hand-poured soy wax candles in 2014 in a bid to produce more ecologically sound alternatives to burning paraffin candles, recently expanded by moving into a new studio and shop above Enchanted Plants at 6 The Commons, Shaftesbury town centre.  Now a team of five, the company makes and sells a selection of candles in jars and unique reclaimed containers, tealights, wax melts, matches and exclusive accessories from the premises, as well as through its website

Teresa McGuire, Client Service Manager, Ward Goodman; Amalia Pothecary, Director, Botanical Candle Co; Jessica Whittaker, Apprentice, Botanical Candle Co

Amalia Pothecary, Director of The Botanical Candle Co. said:“Sales were heading to the VAT threshold, so we went to see Teresa McGuire at Ward Goodman who set up us as a limited company. Using WG Cloud Xero software has made it so much easier to keep an eye on our cash flow and bank account, and the whole process has been very smooth and taken away the worry. Teresa’s advice and guidance has enabled us to concentrate on our business and give us the confidence to open up on the high street.”

Teresa McGuire, Client Service Manager at Ward Goodman, said:“It’s great to be able to help a small business and see it expand to high street premises, as it’s not only good for the business, but also for the town itself to have new and exciting shops bringing people to Shaftesbury.  We look forward to being part of The Botanical Candle Company’s next chapter and wish them every success.”

Blanchards Bailey does the double

From left: Principal Paul Dunlop, Principal Sarah Heath, Senior Associate Tilly Clarke and Principal Jerome Dodge

Shaftesbury Chamber member Blanchards Bailey LLP has claimed a double victory and a special commendation in prestigious awards.

Blanchards Bailey LLP scooped the coveted Dispute Resolution Team and Private Client Team titles at the 2018 Dorset Legal Awards.

The expanding firm, with offices in Shaftesbury, also received a special commendation for Company Commercial Team of the Year.

Blanchards Bailey principal and chief executive Alan Horne said: “These awards are recognition of the tremendous commitment of our talented team.

“There was fierce competition from the many excellent law firms in Dorset so we are thrilled to have won in two categories and receive a special commendation.

“We remain client focused and dedicated to providing the best possible legal advice and greatest customer service for clients and business leaders in Dorset and beyond.”

Blanchards Bailey was nominated as finalist in a record seven categories in the awards at the Bournemouth International Centre – more than any other law firm.

There were more than 200 nominations from 25 firms, with an independent judging panel choosing a shortlist of 42 finalists across 14 categories.

Blanchards Bailey is a Legal 500 firm – one of the top firms in the UK for the third year running with eight individuals singled out for their work.

The 70-strong firm has supplied guidance and advice since 1924. It has offices in Weymouth, Dorchester, Shaftesbury and Blandford.

More than 1,000 qualified solicitors, legal executives and licensed conveyancers work in Dorset, along with thousands of legal and practice support individuals.

The Dorset Legal Awards bring together the legal community to celebrate the success of the county’s 200 regulated practices.

Visit for more information.



THIS THURSDAY 22ND, 12:30 – 14:00 at

Dear Members & Friends of the Chamber

Our next networking event will be a lunch this Thursday 22nd March and we’d love you to join us.  Basset’s Estate Agents have recently expanded and opened their latest office in Shaftesbury.  They are a small independent company who are very involved with local business networking and the local communities at their other locations.  We are therefore pleased to welcome Director Matt Boatwright who will be giving us the opportunity to ‘Ask an estate agent’.  If you have any burning questions about buying, selling or letting Matt will be happy to share some top tips and words of wisdom.

Our networking meetings are friendly events with opportunities to introduce yourself without the need to stand on ceremony.  We aim to provide an informal opportunity for local business people to spend time together for mutual support.  Feel free to bring along any business cards or literature and you are welcome to attend two meetings without joining The Chamber.

Meeting details:
§   Date: Thursday 22nd March
§   Time: 12.30-2.00pm
§   Venue: The Grosvenor Hotel, High Street, Shaftesbury SP7 8JA
§   Cost: £12, payable on the day

Booking is essential for catering: Please email by Tuesday 20th March or call our networking coordinator, Dr Karen Janes, on 07941 031427 to book your place and let us know, at the time of booking, if you have any dietary requirements.

Forthcoming meetings
-Thursday April 26th – Breakfast at Turnbull’s Café, £7
Speaker to be confirmed
-Thursday May 24th – Lunch – venue tbc
With Keri Jones, from Great Destinations.

Future dates for your diary. Please let us know if you would like the opportunity to speak at one of our meetings.
-Thursday June 21st – Breakfast
-Thursday July 19th – Lunch
-Thursday September 20th – Breakfast
-Thursday October 18th – Lunch
-Thursday November 29th – Breakfast

Breakfasts are 7.45-9.00am and cost £7 and lunches are 12.30-2.00pm and cost £12 unless otherwise stated. Booking is essential but payments are made directly to the venues on the day. Thank you!

PHOTOS: Shaftesbury Christmas Spectacular lights switch on.

Shaftesbury Christmas Events 2017

Shaftesbury’s Christmas late night spectacular on MONDAY 4th of December will see (and hear) the town raising the spirits with a huge sing-along.

The massed community and local schools’ choir will join together in a chorus of around 200 to kick off the festive season.

Santa’s grotto will be inside the town hall and there will be street food, children’s fairground rides and traction engines on show throughout night.

At around 6pm the Town Band will march from the football club introducing Father (and Mother) Christmas accompanied by the Nutcracker and Sugarplum Fairy.

When Santa is safely in his grotto the massed choir will ring out with a carefully practised festive song before the lights are turned on. They will then continue with a number of well-loved carols and songs such as “Ding Dong Merrily on High”, so everyone can join in.

Throughout the festive evening shops will be open offering lots of seasonal spirit, some of it mulled!

Our Chair, David Perry, says, “For the past few years we have had a celebrity to turn the lights on. Although this pulled in big crowds we were beginning to lose the true community spirit. We are now returning to the original idea of a late night shopping event where local traders can give something back to their customers. On the night participating retailers will be giving shoppers a 10% off voucher which can be redeemed in the New Year.”

The seasonal festivities continue on SUNDAY 17th December with the Christmas Market filling the town. With around 100 stalls selling high quality crafts, food and drink this will be one of the biggest Christmas street markets in the county.

During the day Churches Together will be performing their annual nativity play.


Come and join us for our next business networking meeting hosted by Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce. This month is our last meeting for this year so don’t miss out on a chance to mix with other business people in Shaftesbury. Please do drop us an email to book so we can be sure of numbers for our venue’s catering.

At our November meeting we will be pleased to welcome Claire Commons, recently appointed Town Clerk who will be joining us to tell us a little about her involvement with the town and how the Town Council want to work alongside local businesses.

Our networking meetings are friendly events with opportunities to introduce yourself without the need to stand on ceremony. We aim to provide an informal opportunity for local business people to spend time together for mutual support.

Meeting details:

  • Date: Thursday November 30th
  • Time: 7.45-9.00am
  • Venue: Turnbulls Café, 9 High Street, Shaftesbury SP7 8HZ
  • Cost: £7, payable on the day

Booking is essential for catering: Please email by Tuesday 28th November or call our networking coordinator, Dr Karen Janes, on 07941 031427 to book your place. 

It is really helpful to our venues to have accurate numbers for catering. When booking please let us know if you would like a bacon baguette or scrambled egg on toast or let us know if you have any other dietary requirements.

There is no meeting in December so we will be back again with a lunch at The Grosvenor Hotel on Thursday 25th January. Scroll down for all the dates for 2018 and click on the link below to read more information on our networking principles.

Additional Networking Info

2018 meeting dates for your diary
Please note: there will be no meeting in December.

  • Thursday January 25th – Lunch at The Grosvenor Hotel
  • Thursday February 22nd – Breakfast at Turnbulls Café
  • Thursday March 22nd – Lunch, venue to be confirmed
  • Thursday April 26th – Breakfast
  • Thursday May 24th – Lunch
  • Thursday June 21st – Breakfast
  • Thursday July 19th – Lunch
  • Thursday September 20th – Breakfast
  • Thursday October 18th – Lunch
  • Thursday November 29th – Breakfast

Breakfasts are 7.45-9.00 and lunches are 12.30-2.00pm unless otherwise stated.

Happy Networking!