Still delivering a service in Bedford

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Bedford businesses are asking people help town centre outlets in these challenging times.
Government advice on March 16th suggested people should avoid social contact and stay away from pubs, restaurants and theatres. This could have a crippling effect on day time cafe society and the “night time economy”.
“This is such a fast-moving scenario that we cannot predict what might happen next. But one thing we do know, independents and mainstream names need customer loyalty now more than ever,” said the volunteer board of the BedfordBID which represents 500+ businesses, 
“We are asking people to make sure they still pop and shop in town. And of course nowadays following developments of so many flats, more people actually live in the town centre, so these are their neighbourhood shops.
“Whilst there are stories of people clearing shelves of toilet rolls in supermarkets, we would like to think that people will come in to town to visit our businesses – as our independents and larger outlets need your support.
“Naturally, we want people to follow the Government’s advice and stay safe, but taking sensible precautions means you CAN continue to back businesses in Bedford.
Don’t forget many of our businesses offer on-line ordering so find them on our website www.lovebedford.co.uk and take a look at how you can support town centre businesses from home if you can’t get into town.”
One example is Michael R. Peters, established in 1966 and which has an outstanding reputation for service. 
People can order on-line and ask for delivery – at one point the store in Tavistock Street  ran out of freezers, but new ones were due in on Thursday (March 19th)
Across the road in Harpur Street designer ladies’ wear shop, Michael Bailey is doing “Face Time” fashion shows for valuable customers who cannot travel to the store.
Next door at Dreamwear the modern business is adding to its on-line offers.
Harrison and Simmonds, the long established High Street men’s gift wear and tobacconists, has an on-line following for their specialist items.
Fleurette Florists in Harpur Street are asking people to ring in orders as they are still busy for Mother’s Day on March 22nd.
Cash Converters in the bus station is doing a steady trade with people exchanging goods for ready cash. Steve McBrearty, who is volunteer BedfordBID Board member said: “We haven’t noticed a major change at the moment. But a lot can happen in a few days.”
Close Encounters comic books and games are adding a new dimension to their on-line offer with games and entertainment for those who are stuck at home. 
Kel’s Belles off Lime Street is advising customers of their new policies to keep clients clear of any contagion, similarly their neighbours at Mirror Mirror hair.
Many of the scores of restaurants in the town centre already deliver – but some are now going that extra mile.
Mamma Concetta in Harpur Street is ramping up its existing delivery service with special offers for regular customers.
El Picante in AllHallows has a busy delivery service already and plans to do even more.
Gallone’s in the Edwardian Arcade is offering ice cream deliveries now. Photo the team are seen with fan Ian Pryce CBE CEO of Bedford College whose staff and students are important customers in the town centre. 
Bedford Business Improvement District (BID) is a body which collects a legal levy from the larger businesses in town and uses the money to promote everyone via the Love Bedford brand. This means big property owners like Bedford Borough Council, Bedford College, the Harpur Trust and others pay thousands into a central fund which is administered by volunteers from town centre businesses – people who know how tough it is in town at the moment.
More details of Love Bedford businesses can be found on www.lovebedford.co.uk
or on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram
Meanwhile BedfordBID is signposting business to a range of measures being introduced by the Government and/or Bedford Borough Council to ease the cash flow crisis faced by those who are seeing visitor/customer numbers fall.
See www.lovebedford.co.uk for information under Business News which applies to all business across the Borough.

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