BUSINESS owners in a historic shopping arcade are reaping the benefits of their hard work.
Shopkeepers at Huddersfield’s Byram Arcade are attracting more people to the Victorian building after taking steps to make the venue more appealing.
From giant adverts in empty shop windows to live music every Saturday, businesses have been using their creative talents to show-off what the arcade has to offer.
Sharon Jewitt, owner of Cook and Bakeware, said: “As business people, we all know that there’s little point in sitting back and waiting for people to visit – we are always looking for new ways to promote ourselves and the arcade.
“The building is full of unique businesses which all offer something different, but we share the same common love for the arcade and a passion to see it thrive.
“This year we’ve been working closely with Kirklees Council on a number of projects and it’s amazing to see the impact it’s having – the fresh lick of paint alone has attracted new visitors into the arcade, never mind the three-metre tall advert on Upperhead Row!”
Providing the perfect backdrop to the arcade’s unique style, local musicians perform live every Saturday and regular gallery, music and comedy events are organised by businesses, too.
The arcade’s next big event will be a Vintage Fair during Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival, followed closely by a brand new event, Taste of Byram, on September 22.
Plans are already taking shape for this year’s Festival of Light which – following the success of last year’s Urban Angels performances – will feature performances in the arcade.
Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan, said: “There’s a fantastic entrepreneurial spirit in Byram Arcade and when I talked to business owners they shared their ideas with me for raising its profile and driving footfall. The council is fully supportive of what they are doing and I’m really pleased to see them working together and with us to make things happen.
“Huddersfield is lucky to have such a hive of independent businesses which set us apart from other towns and areas and it’s important that we keep this growing and developing.”
The arcade’s hard work to date paid off a few weeks ago when they gained some famous fans in the form of Mumford and Sons.
The band, who performed in Greenhead Park, took time out to go shopping in the arcade during a pre-concert visit and also made sure their fans visited Huddersfield’s “hidden gem” by promoting it on their website.