Chesterfield’s businesses were put under the national spotlight in July when BBC Radio 5 Live came to town on the back the latest GDP figures which were up across the board. And Chesterfield’s story wasn’t any different.
If you were listening on 27 July you’ll have heard business reporter Colletta Smith interview Nick Ibbotson from Ibbotson’s Fresh Produce, Stuart Downing from Casa Hotel, James Brand from United Cast Bar and Russ Gratton from Recon Electrical – all Chesterfield businesses. I’m delighted to say that all of them – including the customers at Recon Electrical - had the same story to tell; that business in the last quarter had been good.
People want to come to Chesterfield for work and pleasure, Casa’s figures bear this out. It has had more than 2000 bookings this year and already has people booked for 2017.
It’s a similar story in our town, employment is the highest it has ever been for the town since records began. However, we must keep this momentum going and not let the uncertainty brought about by the EU referendum result derail the town’s growth and future.
We need to be sure we don’t talk ourselves into a recession. Chesterfield is in a strong position with major developments, like Markham Vale, well underway and already creating hundreds of jobs. The Great Bear distribution centre is soon to open at Markham Vale and will create a further 400 jobs this year.
We’re a town of entrepreneurs and time and time again we show how we can adapt, change and overcome. Nowhere was that more evident than at the recent judging for the Food Producer of the Year title in the 2016 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards. It was full of surprises – a micro herb producer from Whittington Moor, a smoke and cured meat specialist from Bolsover, a smoothie and juice producer from Tupton and a honey producer from Clowne, to name but a few.
Without exception every entrant was an owner managed business, many of them tucked away in Chesterfield quietly getting on with their daily business and supplying produce locally, regionally and nationally.
I’m delighted that Chesterfield Borough Council is helping town’s entrepreneurs even further with its latest plans for Northern Gateway. It has announced it will be building a business enterprise centre on part of the Donut car park for start-up and small and medium sized businesses.
The Council’s Dunston and Tapton Innovation Centres already have a great track record for incubating and nurturing business and I for one am delighted that Chesterfield is able to look ahead and continue with its plans for growth and prosperity even in these times of uncertainty.