Sutton Coldfield BID Brings In High Street Guru Mary Portas

Home News & Events News Sutton Coldfield BID Brings In High Street Guru Mary Portas

Hight Street guru May ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas is being recruited by Sutton Coldfield BID to help reinvigorate the heart of the Royal Town – by inspiring local businesses at a major seminar.

Businesses in Sutton Coldfield are being invited to hear from the UK’s top high street guru to help reinvigorate the heart of the Royal Town.

Royal Sutton Coldfield Business Improvement District (BID) – which is funded by 377 local businesses – is calling upon High Streets guru Mary Portas to address local businesses at a seminar in the town centre this June.

BID chair Alison Clack, Managing Director of Cerda Planning, said:

“We are very excited by the prospect of Mary Portas coming to Sutton Coldfield and sharing her knowledge and expertise in a way that will inspire local businesses.

“The BID understands that Sutton Coldfield town centre, like most towns and High Streets across the UK, is going through a period of change and we simply cannot ignore the concerns expressed in the media and on social media.

“We feel that an inspirational seminar from a renowned expert in this field will help to bring local businesses together with a renewed sense of resilience and pride in their town centre.

“High Streets and town centres are changing and, at the seminar, businesses from all sectors will hear first-hand how they can work together and overcome the challenges they face.

“As a BID representing hundreds of local businesses in the town centre, we want to change the narrative that Sutton Coldfield is more than just retail and be as proactive as possible. Bringing in Mary Portas to share her knowledge and expertise will go some way to help in these challenging times.”

Businesswoman, broadcaster, author and activist Portas is the UK’s best known retail guru who, in 2011, conducted a review of the future for high streets for the British government.

After becoming a board member at Harvey Nichols at the age of 30, she founded her creative consultancy Portas, going on to work with some of the biggest names in global retail.

Her BBC series – Mary Queen of Shops and she has presented on television and radio for the BBC and Channel 4 ever since. Mary’s current podcast series include Beautiful Misfits and #1 business podcast The Kindness Economy.

As Chair of the Better Business Act campaign Mary remains very relevant and responsive to the changing business agenda.

Sutton Coldfield town centre is the Second City’s second biggest shopping and business area, second only in size to Birmingham city centre, and its BID delivers year round events to boost footfall such as the monthly Farmers and Craft Market and Christmas events.

Last year the BID commenced its new 5-year term by launching a vibrant new ‘Visit Royal Sutton Coldfield’ brand – with special events, competitions and improvements designed to make it a destination to spend time, eat, drink, shop and relax.

The programme of events has seen a significant upturn in footfall for the centre, and more are planned throughout 2023.

BID Manager Michelle Baker said:

“Bringing an expert of Mary Portas’s stature to Sutton Coldfield for this seminar is the next step in the renewal of our town centre, which the BID is driving through investment in special events and improvements.

“We know there are exciting regeneration plans for the town centre and until that gets underway we will continue to play our part and host events to boost footfall and support local businesses.

“We encourage businesses to attend this event with Mary Portas, to hear how town centres are changing and how we can all play our part.”

The seminar, which will be held on Wednesday 7th June at Sutton Coldfield College, will free to BID Members – but will be invite only.

To find out more about the event, inquire about attendance and discover sponsorship opportunities, contact Michelle Baker, Sutton Coldfield BID Manager, by emailing: