What's in Store for Worthing Town Centre?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the High Street have been greatly exaggerated for some time.
Are the recent losses to our Town Centre a sign of bad financial management (BHS) or a worrying sign of the future?
Shops have, if we think back, always come and gone.
As the economy changes fashions move on and the way we shop changes. Previous generations no doubt lamented the loss of fishmongers, butchers, haberdashers and tobacconists that are today a rarity.
If things didn't move on we would still be buying items in Timothy White's, Brown Bear, Woolworths, Our Price Records and Saxone. All names from many years ago that have gone, but somehow the town survives.
Social media commentators will often lament the arrival of coffee shops, hairdressers and Pound shops who take the place of previously loved brands, but the reality is that if these shops were profitable in the first place they would not close.
However, in reality, people now turn online to compare and usually buy expensive items. So, the town will fill up with shops that trade in no lower value retail and in services that simply are not available online.
I'm sure we all feel nostalgic for the days gone by, but we must ask ourselves when, for example we last wandered into Worthing Town Centre and bought an item for more than say £50 without at least doing research on the internet first?
And the future? Town centres are the heart of any community and they are what visitors will see first, and make their judgement on.
Worthing folk can sometimes be over familiar with their town and see only the bad – read almost any Worthing page on Facebook to see what we mean.
But we think its position nestled right next to the sea with its selection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings, plentiful shops and entertainment facilities, and increasingly more and more good places to eat and drink must be the envy of many that come from big inland towns and cities.
The future of Worthing Town Centre may not be entirely in our hands, but it is in our pocket. Go there and spend money and lets focus on the positives!