‘Queen of Shops’ Mary is heading back to town

Mary Portas wants to help Dunstable businesses. Photo by John Wright Photography
Mary Portas wants to help Dunstable businesses. Photo by John Wright Photography

Retail expert Mary Portas is back with a new TV series and is offering help to independent shops and other businesses in Dunstable.

The retail consultant is known for her retail and business-related television shows and was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead a review into the future of Britain’s high streets in May 2011.

Ms Portas, 44, previously visited Dunstable in 2009 with her BBC programme and highlighted the situation of a town centre she likened to a “graveyard”.

Optomen Television, the BAFTA-winning TV production company behind shows such as The Great British Menu and Heston Blumenthal’s Feast, will be making the series that will see Ms Portas offer her insight, ideas and expertise on the customer experience.

The producers are looking for independent retailers in the area that could benefit from her help and they’re keen to hear from any business owners or managers who would like fresh ideas to bring customers through the door.

David Tooley, a freelance business editor, said: “I hope Mary Portas comes back to Dunstable with her tail slightly between her legs after she dismissed the town’s businesses in such a cruel way five years ago.

“She basically associated the town with a cemetery, which was not correct then and certainly isn’t now with all the investment happening in town.

“Independent businesses can access a huge amount of help, including the Velocity programme delivered by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce and various initiatives like Central Bedfordshire Council’s TimeBank programme. But a little more help won’t go amiss and if Mary Portas is willing to help businesses by positively passing on her own undoubted skills, then I think Dunstable’s business community will welcome her back positively.”

> If you feel your business could benefit then email mary@optomen.com.