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Retail Seminar on International Best Practice Hailed a Success

The first ever Seminar targeted specifically at the retail sector and was held on 3rd March 2008 to much acclaim by attendees.

Organised by KTCM in association with Fife Council and Adam Smith College, the Seminar attracted 40 people from various local retailers and organisations such as Federation of Small Businesses who were all treated to an array of key speakers with a range of retail backgrounds. Feedback from all attendees was extremely positive and many lessons were learned which could be applied to the operation of retail businesses.

Professor Christopher Moore from Heriot Watt University (George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence) gave a fascinating overview of a high level research project he had undertaken on the “Mindset of Successful Retailing”, drawing upon examples from across the UK and international retailing industry. This was not an academic debate but was illuminated by very practical issues and examples which retailers are undertaking across the world to stay ahead of their competitors.

Local entrepreneurs, Dom Panetta (the multi award winning hair salon, Migele Experience) and Dennis Alexander (Chickenshop.co.uk) also offered a fascinating account of their business philosophy and focus on how to meet customer needs, and why they have been successful in Kirkcaldy Town Centre for so many years. Dennis Alexander highlighted the need for and success of his online business, an issue which retailers need to embrace if they were increase their market share – his business from Kirkcaldy High Street has customers from all over the world though the website.

Isobelle Hodgson (“Visobelle Displays”) gave a practical demonstration of why visually appealing shop windows can be profitable for the business while John Cowan (“Real Retail Solutions”) offered an insight on the need to undertake a business review which would highlight some strengths and weaknesses to address.

Sunil Varu, Kirkcaldy Town centre Manager, said:

“The Seminar was an intense afternoon of learning for all but everyone of the attendees agreed that it was extremely useful and time very well spent. From Christopher Moore’s expose of international best practice to the business philosophy of Kirkcaldy’s ‘icons’ Dom Panetta and Dennis Alexander, the Seminar was fascinatingly enlightening. The quality of information shared by all the speakers was extremely high for any business wishing to know how to survive in the current climate economic climate. The consistent themes were strong leadership, understanding what customers want, and making shopping a convenient experience for customers in order to retain their loyalty and commitment.

From KTCM’s point of view, the more we can do to help local businesses to help themselves the better the overall experience of Kirkcaldy as a destination will become. The positive feedback suggests an inclination towards learning from others and making the business more successful, and we shall certainly organises more business development training programmes”

Fifers Turn Up in Huge Numbers to Support of Kirkcaldy’s Switch On!

Fife’s largest Christmas Lights Switch On party was held in Kirkcaldy High Street on Sunday (18th November 2007) and was considered a huge success by Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management.

People from all over Fife and beyond came to enjoy the range of high quality and popular family entertainment on offer throughout the afternoon. Despite a recent lull in trade, the town centre retailers also gave it a thumbs up at a time with tills ringing and signalling the start of the Christmas shopping period.

The afternoon began at 12 noon with The Mercat Shopping Centre’s annual Santa’s Reindeer Parade which drew a huge crowd into the town centre. This year, the Parade was joined by popular children’s character “Dora The Explorer” whose appearances throughout the afternoon were extremely well received with hundreds of children flocking to her. The final piece of the jigsaw came from a theatre group performing “The Gingerbread Man” shows during the afternoon.

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager, Sunil Varu, said,

“Without doubt, Sunday’s Switch On was the busiest during my time and I was delighted so many people came out in support of the event which they thoroughly enjoyed. The panto style Gingerbread Man shows held the attention of the crowds all afternoon while the Reindeer are always popular.

However, I was astounded by the reaction of children – and some adults! – to Dora The Explorer whose walkabout appearances led to massive crowds everywhere. She was very much the pied piper of Kirkcaldy! There will undoubtedly be some great photographs and memories of the buzz created by the entertainment for all those who attended on Sunday”.

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Fife Tourism Businesses Energised To Improve Visitor Experience

Kirkcaldy hosted (16th November 2007) the east of Scotland’s only “Visitor Experience Workshop” organised by “Pride and Passion”, a national movement whose purpose is to significantly improve the customer care standards and visitor experience so that Scotland’s visitors keep coming back for more. In this aim, it enjoys support from Nick Nairn, Muriel Gray and Pete Irvine.

The innovative training event, held in the town’s Beverdige Park Hotel, was fully subscribed by tourism businesses from across Fife. Using an actor in a theatre based format, the assembled business representatives were given a range of highly enjoyable visitor scenarios and then asked to comment on their perceptions on how to improve on his experiences. The workshop was full of insights while the attendees had the chance of swapping notes as well as catching up with other tourism businesses. The day also included the participants going to lunch in the town centre and returning with their feedback on the quality of experience they encountered.

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager, Sunil Varu, was responsible for the travelling workshop to stop off at Kirkcaldy,

“One of the key differentiating factors in successful retail and tourism is the level of customer care and the overall experience created. At KTCM,or goal is to improve the qualityof experience of Kirkcaldy as retail and leisure destination and this workshop comes under that umbrella vivision. I have forged links with Pride and Passion over the last 18 months ago to help us in improving our own experience and I was delighted when they agreed to bring their roadshow to Kirkcaldy and even more so that it was fully subscribed. A number of town centre cafes and restaurants in effect also had a “mystery shopper” from the participants having lunch and the experience was fed back to the rest of the group. We will endeavour to bring this type of roadshow back to Kirkcaldy and allow even more businesses to benefit from it”

Gillian Stirton, Project Manager, Pride & Passion added,

“The fact that we had a full house at the workshop is indicative of the support that local businesses in Kirkcaldy are prepared to give to improve the local tourism offering. There was a real “buzz” to the workshop that only comes when you get a group of people together with passion for what they do. I think everyone learnt something new on the day about their customers, their businesses as well as neighbouring business and they left the workshop with the desire to deliver exceptional customer service and to support each other in “upping the ante” of tourism in the local area”.

The success of the workshop was undoubted and was endorsed by Brian and Bronwyn Birrell of Sandilands B & B (Lundin Links) whose feedback to Pride and Passion was:

“Just a few words to tell you how much we enjoyed the Pride and Passion workshop in Kirkcaldy. We found the variety of activities, the mix of presentation styles and the change of ‘people contact groups’ very entertaining, as well as thought provoking. We thought the idea of sending us out on a lunch mission was inspired! It really made you focus on the service you were getting and consequently thought about the service we give in our own business. Well done”

Blokes Day – Thursday 21st December

blokesday_bannerKirkcaldy Town Centre is delighted to host Scotland’s first ever Blokes Day – A unique Christmas Shopping Experience dedicated to blokes

Enjoy stress free Christmas shopping with your own personal shopper in over 30 stores providing perfect gift ideas and a free wrapping service. Then relax in a bar with a free drink while the rest of your presents are wrapped!*
*Subject to terms & conditions

What more could a bloke ask for?

Particpating Shops

Ann Hardie
Canterbury Bells
Chicken Shop
Class Art
The Craft House
Desire by Debenhams
Dorothy Perkins
Eloise 2
Hendersons The Jewellers
HSK Music
Keith Grant Jewellers
Mark One
Marks & Spencer
Migele Experience
New Look
Passion for Perfume
The Present Shop
TK Maxx
Top Shop
Vakkoo Designer Leather

Particpating Bars & restaurants

Bar Itza Free bottle of beer*
Bar None Free bottle of beer* and wrapping service
Blue Monday Free soft drink* and wrapping service
Café Continental Free bottle of beer*
The Exchequer Free bottle of VK*
Robert Nairn Free cup of tea or coffee
Rodizio Rio

* Subject to terms and conditions

Latest “Master Class” For Kirkcaldy Businesses a Huge Success

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management announced the success of its latest training event targeted at the Town’s retail and tourism sectors, “Effective Selling Made Simple”. Teaming up with Scottish Enterprise Fife and Springboard Scotland to bring this workshop to Kirkcaldy on 31st March 2008, KTCM was pleased to recruit 17 people from several of the town’s independent retailers and tourism businesses whose overall feedback was very good.

Following on from KTCM’s highly successful “Retail Seminar” held on 3rd March, this workshop represented an early opportunity for retail businesses to continue to improve their knowledge for sustainable sales. This “Master Class” addressed the principles of people’s behaviour and left the delegates with the key thought that there cannot be any complacency in dealing with the customer’s needs and wants. It aimed at maximising the potential of staff to improve sales and ultimately profit. In the current economic climate and lower footfall, it is clear businesses will have to be able to sell your products and services better to fewer customers than ever before.

Sunil Varu, Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager said,

“Following the successful Retail Seminar we organised in early March, delivering yet another successful training workshop for our businesses was a key issue for KTCM in maintaining their momentum and hunger to learn more about their customers. This was a “first” for Kirkcaldy and without question, everyone took many learning lessons with them which they can apply in servicing the needs and wants of their customers. From KTCM’s view, this will in the longer term mean customers will see the value in repeatedly coming back to Kirkcaldy because of the service they receive.

My thanks go to both Springboard Scotland and Scottish Enterprise Fife for their support in working in partnership with KTCM to bring this important event to Kirkcaldy and for our businesses, and to Jason Rudgley of Pitch Blue International for making the afternoon interesting and informative for the delegates”.

Carolyn Baird, Project Manager of Springboard Scotland, who coordinated the workshop with Scottish Enterprise Fife, was delighted with the response:

“I was pleased to see so many delegates from various businesses as well as the level of interaction and discussion generated during the afternoon. Previously we have targeted Fife’s tourism businesses only but what particularly struck me was how the whole event brought the tourism and retail sectors together and the synergies which undoubtedly exist between the two. The numbers and feedback suggests there is further scope for working with Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management in the future which I will be delighted to do”.

Kirkcaldy’s World Famous Christmas Weekend

reindeerOn the 11th of November Kirkcaldy gave a big “Wave to the World” when Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management broadcast a whole day’s celebrations via the Internet. As people from around the world logged on they were treated to a day of Christmas celebrations culminating in the switch on of the towns Christmas lights.

During the day surfers….

Viewed a craft fair selling quality “made in Fife” presents
Laughed and listened to Crooked Jack family entertainment
Watched as the locals danced in the Street to Big Night Out
Were entertained by the music, fun and frolics of the Kingdom FM roadshow
The weekend’s festivities also gave locals and visitors the chance to meet Santa and his Reindeer on Sunday 12th November courtesy of the Mercat Shopping Centre.

All in all, a great deal of fun in one weekend proving Kirkcaldy is the place to be this Christmas!!!

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Hosts The UK’s First Ever “Girlie Day” – Stress Free Shopping & Pampering For The Ladies!

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management (KTCM) has teamed up with many town centre businesses to present ladies with a real pampering shopping day on Thursday 13th December 2007 – the UK’s first ever “Girlie Day”! Conceived as a way of helping ladies “de-stress” after a hard day’s shopping, “Girlie Day” offers those ladies shopping in Kirkcaldy Town Centre the opportunity to take advantage of some superb pampering offers from participating businesses and make it a really fun and relaxing shopping experience.

Over 40 businesses will be supporting this innovative promotional event which will feature personal shopper and gift wrapping service in each of the shops and as a “reward” for a hard days’ shopping, the shoppers can take advantage of one of many “girlie Treats” on offer from a number of participating businesses. Among these “Girlie Treats” are a complimentary Nail Analysis & Hand massage, an Indian Head Massage, Head & Shoulder Massage, Cocktail, Glass of wine, speciality coffees. All in the name of Christmas shopping!

Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager, Sunil Varu, stated,
“This event is organised in direct response to comments from women that Scotland’s first ever “Blokes Day” event last year – an event which we are again organising – only “rewarded” men for shopping.

Having reflected on how stressful Christmas shopping can be for women too, we came up with the “Girlie Day” promotion designed to make shopping in Kirkcaldy Town Centre a very easy, convenient and special experience that will remain an abiding memory for all who take part. I am delighted to have the support of so many businesses which are wholeheartedly committed to it – large and independent retailers, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes & pubs.

This is yet another event in the Kirkcaldy Festive Calendar of events – Christmas Lights Switch On, Skating Rink and the Italian Market. We are trying to bring the fun factor back to Town Centre shopping particularly at Christmas time and there is already much excitement about the Girlie Day event.”

Two of the businesses taking part in this event leant their support and enthusiasm:

Christine Cunningham of “Bliss Beauty” commented,
“Girlie Day is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to take part and I am totally confident the Girlie “treats” will go down a treat! We shall definitely contribute to an excellent all round shopping experience and are very much looking forward to it.”

Denise James, Complementary Health Practitioner, added,
“Girlie Day is certainly a novel way of putting not only Kirkcaldy Town Centre map as a shopping centre but also address the needs of women when Christmas shopping. It will at least convert for one day what many women consider a stressful chore into an enjoyable experience. A little bit of pampering for us women never goes amiss!”

Kirkcaldy set for spectacular invasion of the Giants!

Giant CaterpillarKTCM’s efforts to provide the town centre with a welcome boost were revealed this week a new event for Kirkcaldy Town Centre taking place on Saturday 21st June 2008 which is set to make the town centre “buzz” with activity.

Building on previous innovative events brought to the town centre (giant butterflies, ostriches and the ant orchestra), KTCM has attracted quite probably the most spectacular array of street theatre acts to the town. Three separate giant acts will be in Kirkcaldy High Street, interacting and entertaining the crowds and shopping public. Dubbed the “Mini Giant Day”, the acts include:

• Caterpillar – a 4 metre wide x 5metre high x10metre long inflatable puppet operated by ten performers using cold air parading through the town centre
• Spanish style street theatre procession including the return of the giant Drumming Ants and a selection of characters influenced by Salvador Dali. This will feature the Dancing Giants (Dali and Gala) which are puppets the size of a house and great dancers!


12 noon till 12.45pm – Caterpillar parade

2pm – 2.45pm – Drumming Ants and Dali Dancers

Sunil Varu, Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager, said,

“We have searched long and hard to bring the people of Kirkcaldy and visitors the most amazing mini-festival which will undoubtedly liven up Kirkcaldy Town Centre. These street theatre acts have performed across Europe at places like Nice Carnival and Edinburgh Hogmanay, and it’s fantastic that we have brought them here. People of all ages will be astounded at the sheer size and scale of these monster puppets and hopefully get a huge deal of enjoyment from them. I have to say – these simply have to be seen to be believed!”

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Festive Italian Market A First For Scotland

While other towns and cities have farmers markets and craft markets as part of their shopping offer this weekend, Kirkcaldy Town Centre has a huge advantage in bringing Scotland’s first ever Italian Market for shoppers to enjoy.

Organised by Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management, the “Mamma Mia” Market will appeal to a broad range of people looking for something “different” for their Christmas stockings and presents. This festive event will form an antidote to simply shopping on the internet by the interaction and banter with the Italian stallholders, while out shopping.

Sunil Varu, Kirkcaldy Town Centre Manager, said,

“We are trying to bring back the fun of shopping in town centres and make people realise that the Christmas shopping experience can in fact be enjoyable. The Italian Market will boost footfall of people who would not normally expect to be in Kirkcaldy and will be in a position to take advantage of the shopping which the town centre undoubtedly offers”.

Support of the “Mamma Mia” Market comes from local Italian Scots – hairdressers Dom and Ellio Pannetta, and Kirkcaldy Golf Club Manager Anthony Caira – who got into the spirit of the occasion coming to Scotland by donning the full highland dress courtesy of the Kirk Wynd Highland House for the event kicking off on St. Andrews Day (pictures attached).

Dom Panetta, Director of Kirkcaldy Town Centre Management, stated,

“I think the market is a great idea and will be supported by the people of Kirkcaldy and other parts of Fife, too. It’s the first time Scotland has had an Italian festive market while cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow host German markets every year. There is already some excitement about it in the town and I’m sure it will bring many people into the town centre and have a spin off for the shops”.

Kirkcaldy’s Easter Hop – Easter fun for everyone

Kirkcaldy is once again setting the stage for another fantastic family day out.

Come along and browse the quality craft fair (selling all kinds of wonderful and unusual gifts), while the children have a quick bounce on the giant inflatable or enjoy themselves on the merry-go-rounds. Hopefully before they fill their tummies with the free chocolates the Easter Bunny will be handing out.

And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you – make sure you meet the Fife Flyers and have time to listen to the soothing South American panpipes of Kantaro.

Make sure you don’t miss this great day out – it’s going to be one egg-stravaganza.

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