Social Media & the High Street

If you don’t follow @twickerati on Twitter or ‘like’ it on Facebook (and why should you) then you might just have missed an interesting feature in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday. Locally based MoS journo Vicki Owen wrote a good article about how social media is being used to help UK high streets and stone the crows guv’nor, she only went and wrote about Twickenham, didn’t she? OK, so she also wrote about Dunstable and Whitstable but, frankly, Dunstable, Schmunstable.

The background to the piece, or at least the Twickenhammy bits, is the opening of Ruben’s Bakehouse on Heath Road back in December. Here at twickerati HQ we’ve given some blog space and tweet time to Igor the baker and his excellent bread, and Igor was tipped off about getting in touch with us on Twitter by local estate agent, Milestone Commercial. It seems our tweets and high street updates helped Igor raise his profile in Twickenham and pick up customers at his new venture, and that’s something we’re very pleased about.

Now, as you know, although we’re pro-Twickenham on these pages we’ll never say that everything is wonderful locally or that every Twickenham business is brilliant, but we do like to mention the good stuff and raise awareness generally to help people make up their own minds. Of course, one local website is not going to create a thriving town centre and there are plenty of others who are working much harder than the team here at twickerati HQ to improve Twickenham, but we’re very happy to get some recognition – and free publicity – for helping.

LINKS:
* Mail Online / This Is Money Article
* Ruben’s Bakehouse
* Vicki Owen on Twitter

Oh, and thanks very much for all the positive feedback on Twitter and Facebook about this. Tis much appreciated.

34 Comments

Filed under Food & Drink, High Street Updates, Random Stuff

34 responses to “Social Media & the High Street

  1. I would love to try Ruben’s bread, but I’ve been twice now (once at 4.30pm and once at 2pm) and both times they had totally sold out. At 2pm!

    I’m glad he’s doing well, I guess, but that seems like poor planning to me.

    • Gareth Roberts

      On whose part? 😉

    • Gareth Roberts

      Ugh! Had no idea that a simple emoticon would transform itself automatically into a cartoon

    • Walkinthepark

      Yes you have to get there early. It is baked each day fresh so when it’s gone it is gone! I know they are playing about with the quantities of different lines but with more people realising how good it is all the time I am guessing they don’t have a settled pattern of demand.

  2. milestone

    the town centre management board helped get Rubens in? I don’t recall that. We nearly lost Igor to Hampton Wick

    • Milestone Commercial for anyone who doesn’t know them is one of our treasured local Commercial Agents who lives close by with their families and who really have their finger on the pulse, and are somewhat the lifeblood of Twickenham Town. The handful of local Commercial Agents are really proactive and very willing to share their knowledge and understand the needs of Twickenham Town.

      Twickenham Town Business Association (TTBA) which was formed a year and a half ago out of a genuine need which has Business Rate Paying businesses as its members is now partnering the Council Retail Champion and Inward Investment specialists, (Susan Shaw is a real power-house of information and activities to reignite the local businesses with confidence and support in all aspects in partnership with the Retail Alliance of all 15 Villages and Towns in our Borough) in driving a major self-help programme with expert knowledge and partnerships, collective actions and putting events driving footfall and highlighting the desirability of shopping and experiencing the fantastic historic cultural, arts, river, sport, musical heritage, architectural and environmental beauty. TTBA and its Members are meeting every couple of months are designed to bring the businesses of Twickenham Town and prospective businesses together to really help each other and are a platform to promote services to assist them prosper, even more important times. TTBA has been responsible for attracting sponsorship from businesses themselves such as the very successful initiative which has brought about our ‘flagged’ town for celebrating all sorts of fantastic events, including providing an `International’ welcome for major rugby matches, our fantastically successful top of their game Harlequins and making their Premiership opposition welcome by flying both teams flags, getting over 200 Christmas trees lit above shops and 9 large Christmas trees in key areas working in partnership with various parties, (I designed the really easy base structures to make this possible!), the Olympics colour, Jubilee Celebrations, Diwali, Festival of Colour, Valentines day, and coordinating and supporting all partner organisations as well as creating the central resource http://www.twickenhamthetown.org or http://www.ttba.org.uk, and embracing the local hyper-bloggers who are doing great work to a common aim.

      My sincere best wishes to John Armstrong whom I had a long conversation with a couple of weeks ago in his brave fight for his health with the support of wife Rosemary.

      Twitter @TwickRegenerate
      Cllr Scott Naylor
      Twickenham Riverside Ward (Twickenham Town, Marble Hill, East Twickenham Village)

  3. Yvonne Hewett

    Blockbuster are going pffft. There’s going to be a big hole in the Heath Road when they vanish – not to mention the jobs that’ll be lose.

    • Simon H

      Yup, and it’ can’t—it really, really can’t—be filled by a coffee shop or restaurant. A big electrical shop would be good. Dixons’ profits are up…

    • jimbo

      there used to be a big electrical shop here – I think it was Comet. I’m talking about 25 years ago. They must have moved out for a reason!

    • Yvonne Hewett

      Lost, even.

  4. twickerman

    Two new high street topics:

    1. Burger King appears to have submitted a new licensing application. It’s displayed in their window.

    I wonder if Councillor Anonymous knows when their 24hr opening application will be heard by the licensing committee?

    2. It doesn’t look as if Sea Fresh ‘will be back very soon’ as their oldish notice suggests. Perhaps the franchisee (the same as Wimpy & London Kebabs) has given up on it thanks to the arrival of BK?

    • Rufus McDufus

      Did anyone ever try Sea Fresh? I like the chippie in St Margaret’s too much be tempted away.

    • twickerman

      Sea Fresh is/was not the best. The stodgy oily fish batter put me off.
      I much prefer PKs Fish Bar at Whitton/London Rd junction.

    • Gareth Roberts

      Only for buying a cheeky bag of chips now and again. I was attending a day time meeting in Twickenham recently and had managed to cling onto the ebbing lifeforce with the consoling thought of a steaming hot bag of chips, drenched with vinegar and stroke inducing amount of salt as a treat on the way home. On arriving at the shop and finding it all closed up I could have WEPT!

    • BK app says they are revising their application to withdraw the alcohol aspect. However the LBRuT licensing page did not, in the end, seem to indicate a request for a booze licence. It asked for category “I” for ‘late night refreshment’ and not category”J” for “supply of alcohol”. Perhaps the notice is just for advising of that?
      Slightly confusingly under “Club premises” applications, category “I” relates to supply of alcohol and “J” to opening hours.

      Meanwhile last day for comments on 24/7 Sainsburys on The Green.
      http://www.richmond.gov.uk/new_and_variation_premises_v397.pdf

    • Yvonne Hewett

      That variation only relates to selling alcohol and opening hours. The application for signeage – including the whopping, bright panels taking up two panels at each end of the frontage – is at http://idoxwam.richmond.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?&appNumber=12/3874/ADV

    • twickregenerate

      Now who is Councillor anonymous, not my style! The only trouble with this site is that we so often have to log in, so I don’t know how anyone could be ‘anonymous’ unless they choose to register their name as anonymous, which isn’t really helpful either as it helps to be able to address people properly and know who us saying what rather than hiding behind ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘Two Ton Ted’, although some do make me laugh. But then it is quite fun determining whether they are writing because they have a specifpolitic allegiance and are doing it from purely ‘blind support ‘ terms without any reasoned logic, are so blinded by their own arguments that they just become a rant without back-up knowledge, or indeed as so many people are on here well informed and ailing to share it and have a reasoed discussion on-line.

      Of course the fact they are attracted here in the first place down to your journalistic style and neutral but sometimes playfully provocative position you take.

      Now, where were we, licensing applications have to be heard within 21 days of their end of their advertised consultation period, well done on spotting the new one. Writers also remember that you can register to speak as soon as the Licensing Subcommittee date is announced, and you can register to speak at the I would say quite relaxed Committee proceedings only if you have written in specifically on the latest application number matter, I.e. the revised application not the old one!.

      The only real problem with a new application, apart from the fact that something may have changed about their requirements they are applying for, is that none of the comments are ‘rolled over’ which you have made before, as they might or not be relevant, so you will all have to revisit your original responses and resubmit any support or objection letters accordingly.

    • Boring Editors Note: Although Twickerman is keen to make an association between a regular anonymous poster and Twickregenerate the fact is that the IP addresses are different consistently. Of course this does not actually prove anything but let’s not get into an is he / isn’t he debate. That is why some comments have been ‘modded’ out. If people want to post anonymously that’s fine, but better if they pick their nom de plume & stick to it. If people type a comment without using any name if defaults to anonymous. To avoid having to re-type a name every time, either create a WordPress account (?) or if you type in your email address then your computer should pick up you associated user name. Probably depends on which device you’re posting from.

      This site is keen to promote discussion without getting hung up about revealing people’s identities unless there’s a genuine reason for doing so, which their usually isn’t.

  5. @upend

    that Mail article also mentions Harris + Hoole – which prompted me to post the article about them in last night Standard. It made me feel rather better about the Tesco involvement. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/we-had-to-take-tescos-cash-to-launch-our-coffee-shops-but-the-values-are-down-to-us-8450751.html

    • Indeed. Although the article made a reference to boycotting H+H, we’d never advocte a boycott although it is useful that people know the background. H+H have probably gained more publicity through this Tesco link than had they been a ‘genuine’ independent chain, not all of it good of course but it’s certainly raised their profile. And with many banks taking a risk averse stance on lending to new ventures, it’s likely that we could see more large corporates taking a direct stake in start ups. It’s probably more about hard to define things such as ‘authenticity’ than about the actual ownership but there will also be a core of people who will strive to avoid anything Tesco-related at any cost.

    • nemesis

      Harris and Hoole – otherwise known as Tescobucks.

  6. George

    Well done on this and on getting some publicity for your site. I am sure others are doing plenty to improve Twickenham or trying to, even the arguing Councillors, but if you’re helping to shoppers find their way to Rubens and getting people interested in Twickenham then that’s great, “every little helps” – although I’m probably not allowed to say that on here.

  7. Gareth Roberts

    Congratulations on the recognition that the site has received in this article. It shows what can be achieved at genuinely local level by a mix of enthusiasm, local knowledge and a willingness to allow people to engage. And not at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds either.

    Something of a million miles away from the rather anodyne, some might say pointless, “Village Newsletters” which went, so swiftly, into recycling boxes last year and in the future will exist only as online publications.

    • jimbo

      You see, folks, Gareth knows everything: even the speed at which the “Village Newsletters” were recycled. Give us a clue as to the answer – as fast as 300 per hour, perhaps? As a Market Research man, give us a really accurate figure.

    • Gareth Roberts

      Hello Jimbo, I don’t think I specified a time did I? Nor a rate, for that matter. No, just mentioned swiftly. Evidence? Well I received them in my local area and saw them in recycling boxes the next day – which of course is excellent in terms of recycling but perhaps doesn’t suggest an enthusiasm for the publication. Not something to be pored over with a glass of something cheering or kept as a ready reference for the information contained therein.

      Can I assume that as you had no comment to make about their pointlessness or, indeed, their anodyne content that you agree with those sentiments?

    • jimbo

      In fact, I found “Village News” very informative: very clear map of the proposed changes to King St etc, info about “big local app richmond”, news of my area, Egerton Rd site, Orleans School……
      “Pointless”?- certainly not; “anodyne” (defined in my dictionary as “soothing”) – well, yes; doesn’t everyone like to be soothed?

    • Gareth Roberts

      Well there you go – it goes to show that an argument can be proved, if not to be exactly wrong, to have at least two sides!

    • Ex-Twickenham resident

      Gareth – Whatever happened to that Riverside News (or whatever it was called) that the Lib Dems had in Twickenham?

    • nemesis

      Or, perhaps Gareth they are just very fast readers!

    • Gareth Roberts

      Ha!

  8. Simon H

    I’ve posted this in Your News, but Igor was telling me on Saturday that he’d sold 600 loaves that day. And it was only 2.30pm! Brilliant to see.

  9. Yvonne Hewett

    Tribute should be paid to John Armstrong and the Town Centre Management Board for all their hard work put into getting Ruben’s, and previously Laverstoke Park, into Twickenham. A lot of hours went into bringing them here, and the efforts, particularly by John Armstrong – who’s now seriously ill in hospital – tend to be overlooked. Good high streets don’t just happen.

  10. twickerman

    Yet another advantage of buying local in Twickers:

    Where else can you buy Buffalo Cheeks other than at Laverstoke’s butchers. Cooking advice was provided too. I also picked up a nice bit of skirt (oh behave!).