INTERVIEW: Letchworth BID director Kailah on plans to boost the town centre

Kailah Eglington

Kailah Eglington - Credit: Archant

Tucked away in a small shop on Eastcheap, one woman has grand plans to revolutionise Letchworth town centre and get people shopping locally.

Kailah Eglington runs the Business Improvement District (BID) – funded through a levy paid by businesses in the town centre – and she’s on a one woman mission to get the town thriving.

The BID was set up in May, but only made the official takeover from previous town centre partnership last month.

Business executive director Kailah believes the BID is the key to kick-starting the economy, through getting shops to work together and taking a proactive role in the town management.

Kailah said: “The larger companies are like mentors for the smaller businesses to get on board.

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“It’s easier to work through things together.”

The Love Letchworth office which is her base is full of the early fruits of the project to give the town centre a shot in the arm.

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Throughout our talk, Kailah hands over a series of leaflets and flyers advertising a string initiatives to get people shopping in the town. From mystery shoppers to online surveys about where people spend their money, she has covered all bases.

The BID director has a clear vision of the future of her beloved town. She talks of bringing in business incubation units, as a place for small home businesses to receive training and mentoring in an open space.

Kailah said: “They would receive support within that area to grow their businesses then into their own unit. It’s a self sustaining circle – a process of giving back to the community to help start up businesses get into the market. We want to be part of that.”

She also talks of opening shops in which bigger retailers can sell a sample of their merchandise to test the waters, before committing to a full time lease.

Kailah said: “I’m thinking of ways to take a modern approach to retail.”

The strain of running the BID single-handedly will be eased when Kailah is joined by young businessman James Peachey next month.

James will control business operations, allowing Kailah to focus on strategy.

Kailah added: “It will be very much a team. The role is too much for one person – it’s a very busy office. There’s so much to do, it’s impossible for one person to manage.”

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