David Fitzsimons from Retail Excellence was a breath of fresh air on Thursday evening last at Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy as he addressed a large gathering of interested parties of town traders, public representatives, festival organisers and voluntary bodies in an attempt to come up with a revitalisation plan for the town.
The initiative organised by Enniscorthy Chamber of Commerce and Business Association was opened by chamber president John Burke O’Leary, who welcomed all, particularly newly appointed town manager Liz Hore and chairman of Wexford County Council Paddy Kavanagh and James Browne TD to the beginning of what he hopes will be a revival of the town of Enniscorthy.
There is a general consensus that we have a most beautiful town of culture, history, drama and music and all we need is a cohesive plan and a willingness to work together to breathe new life into the elegant old lady.
David Fitzsimmons, with a proven track record revitalising many towns in Ireland, said that Enniscorthy was no different than any other, as he had already been in Killarney that morning, and Upper Baggott Street at lunchtime doing exactly the same thing. He made it clear to the audience from the onset that he wouldn’t be entertaining debate or discussion on rates, parking or pedestrianisation – rather he would talk about the experience that Enniscorthy had to offer and how to improve and enhance that offer.
Every store in the town must offer an experience if it is to compete with online selling. It must be open, it must captivate, it must be clear, it must be personal and it must offer human to human engagement.
Enniscorthy, David said, must be fit for purpose for the people of Enniscorthy, everything must be concentrated on the people of the town. We must create a town centre where people will want to meet, eat, greet and congregate. We must offer them a retail experience, evening economy, easy access and safety. These are the things people everywhere are looking for and Enniscorthy is no different. We must define our inner core and initially concentrate all our efforts on making that space as beautiful, as accessible and as pleasant an experience as possible for the people who live in the town 365 days a year. If is it fit for them then it will be fit for visitors to the town, then it will attract people from other towns to come and enjoy the experience.
First of all, you beautify, then you create the experience and then you tell everyone, David said.
All makes tremendous sense but what happens next?
Next, a committee will be established and an Enniscorthy Town Plan will be formulated.
Exciting times ahead for our lovely town and well done to Enniscorthy Chamber and EBA for the initiative – we look forward to our revival.