LAST Friday, I attended the 2015 Rochdale Business Awards to celebrate the very best of local business.
It was a great opportunity to give Rochdale entrepreneurs the recognition they deserve and it was a fitting end to a week of good news for the town’s economy.
The ongoing project to revitalise our town centre has taken a major step forward with the confirmation that Marks and Spencer will be an integral part of the £100m Town Centre East development.
Richard Farnell and his team at Rochdale Council have done an incredible job to push this project forward.
Together with the reopening of the river, a new outdoor market and events like this weekend’s beer festival, I am quietly confident that Rochdale’s high street economy is turning a corner.
Earlier this week, I spent time in Drake Street, meeting with shopkeepers and small business owners. I also did the honours of cutting the ribbon at the opening a new solicitor’s firm.
I was struck by how hard working and passionate these business owners are and how keen they are to create jobs and contribute to the local community.
Awards nights, regeneration projects and big name high street chains might grab the headlines. But, away from the spotlight, there are many business owners who are working hard to boost the economy.
Major development like Town Centre East are important, but it is the small shops and businesses which form the backbone of our community.