Indies in Dartmouth in Devon have joined forces to drive trade through promotional events following major hikes in the town’s business rates.
Dartmouth was one of the worst-hit towns when rate rises came into effect across the UK in April.
Premium womenswear indie Starburst Boutique saw its monthly rates more than double from £95 to £220.
To offset the hike, Starburst Boutique, contemporary womens-wear indie Danielli and lingerie indie Juste Moi have jointly planned a champagne evening in local beauty salon The Cove in July, where they will show their collections and the salon will offer treatments. If successful, they plan to run events every two months and get more stores involved.
Starburst Boutique owner Hannah Jennings said: “The indies in the area used to compete but after the rate increase we all admitted we were struggling. We need to work together because shoppers will only come back if there continues to be a good mix of indies in Dartmouth.”
She added: “The council sees Dartmouth as an affluent town but we rely on tourism so trade practically dies in winter.”
The Dartmouth Chamber of Trade has continued to lobby the new Government about the increase.
Jennings has also lobbied the council to bring a farmers’ market to the town to attract footfall.