Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Wiltshire Business Expo details confirmed

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This year's Wiltshire Business Expo will be held at Trowbridge Civic Centre on Thursday, June 20, organisers have confirmed.

The event, which is organised by Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Business Support Service and Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership promises attendees inspiriong workshops and seminars along with motivational keynote speakers.

There are also opportunities for companies to showcase their wares with an exhibition stand. Booking details are available from Matthew Croston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The event will run from 8.30am to 5.30pm, and will be free to attend.

Bank of England gets snapshot of Chippenham economy

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A snapshot of the state of the Chippenham economy was given by business leaders to the Bank of England earlier this month, when thirteen business owners and managers from the Chamber of Commerce met with Geoff Harding, the Bank of England´s Deputy Agent for South West England, at the new headquarters of MJ Church plant hire.

This was one of a regular series of meetings between the Bank and Wiltshire businesses: Wessex Chamber has organised eight in the county over the past 12 months.

Businesses were able to give their feedback on local economic decisions, and how bank policy is affecting trade. These views are then fed back to the Bank of England's economic policy unit.

Free seminar on writing for the web

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Writing for the Web is the subject of a free seminar from Salisbury-based Cravenplan, which will be held on Wednesday, April 17 at 11am.

The seminar is aimed at anyone involved in writing content for websites.

The topics covered include:

  • Planning
  • Writing styles
  • Grabbing attention
  • Calls to action
  • Updating an existing web site

For more information, or to book a place, log on to or call 01747 858000.

Popular shop manager leaves Marlborough for London job

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Andy Davies of WaitroseGood Friday is going to be Farewell Friday tomorrow for Andy Davies, the ebullient manager of Marlborough’s Waitrose, who has announced his departure from the store that is the vital magnet of the High Street shopping centre.

After five-years in that role, Andy is heading for London to head a project management team of up to 20 John Lewis/Waitrose partners and consultants for the next 12 months.

“And I won’t be returning to Marlborough,” said 47-year-old Andy, who joined Waitrose as a weekend schoolboy helper. “It is a great opportunity for me and I am going to grab it. This is a really exciting chance for me to move into the corporate world.

“I fought really hard to get to Marlborough in the first place. I had a two-year plan and had to jump through many hoops to be given a brilliant branch like this and I’ve been only the fourth manager here in the store’s 36 years.”

His dramatic decision to leave has not come as a total surprise to his staff of 230 as he spent a six-month secondment to London last year. But he leaves in his considerable wake a dynamic record of success and community support.

Two years ago he was in control of a £3.5 million revamp of the supermarket that introduced a “green” refrigeration system and a new café. Since then, his activities have included creating an orchard of 20 rare-breed apple trees in the Waitrose car park and launching a Waitrose kitchen at St John’s Academy, providing initial jobs too for students and and mentoring them in writing job CVs.

“And we have been in the heart of the community for the last three years by giving £12,000 each year to 36 local charities,” he said. “That’s a big impact on the community and one I am proud of.

“It’s been a privilege to work here and I shall be sad in some ways to leave. I’ve got just a 20-minute drive to work every day with a fantastic team in one of the most wonderful parts of the country.

“You could say, ‘Just stay, that’s the easiest thing to do.’ But I’ve got this constant need to look for new horizons and to keep moving forward. That’s the way I’ve always been. So I can’t give up this great opportunity to learn new skills.

“I certainly shall come back to Marlborough to shop – and to drink the first glass of cider from our apple orchard. I love running branches. I love the whole buzz of our team, customers and working in the community.

“That’s why I’ve done it for so long. Now I have the opportunity to go out and do something different.”

Already in the pipeline for Marlborough are plans to revamp the High Street entrance to the branch and perhaps introduce a community notice board.

Interviews are now taking place over the next few weeks to find a successor, someone, possibly a woman, who already manages a Waitrose branch since Marlborough is considered one of company’s major rural stores.
“We expect to have someone in place by the end of April,” said Andy.

Meanwhile, it is likely that Marlborough Chamber of Commerce will be inviting Andy to return for an event to pay tribute to his work in the town.

“We are losing an ambassador to business in Marlborough with Andy’s decision to move on,” said Paul Shimell, president of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce.

“He will be a great loss to the town and to the Chamber of Commerce as a man who brought great ideas and resources to our committee, giving us essential information as to how he worked to keep his store in front.

“Waitrose is the main attraction in the town centre and the work that Andy has put in has kept it just so. He will be an asset to the next project he runs. We wish him well in the future.”

Business leaders caught lying down on the job

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Wessex Chambers members at AirsprungWiltshire bosses were caught lying down on the job recently – and who can blame them?

The Wessex Chamber members were on a site visit to Airsprung beds in Trowbridge - one of the largest bed manufacturers in the UK - where 2,500 mattresses are produced every day.

Chamber members were able to see all aspects of the business, from the bed manufacturing to the dispatch.

The next Wessex Chamber site visit will leave members puzzled – they´re off to Wentworth Wooden Puzzles, near Malmesbury, on Thursday, May 9.

For booking details log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events

Ladies told how to Stay Ahead of Trend

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How to Stay Ahead of the Trend is the topic of the next Wessex Business Women’s networking lunch.

The guest speaker will be Chris Simpson, senior business manager at Wiltshire Business Support Service, who will be sharing 10 ways to ‘feed your business mind’ and keep ahead of the latest insight and information.

The event will be held on Thursday, April 18 from 12.15pm at Guyers House Hotel, Pickwick, Corsham.

Attendance costs £18 for Wessex Chamber members, and £20 for non-members.

For booking details log on to www.wessexchambers.org.uk/events

Swindon Chamber of Commerce gears up for an active Spring

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Swindon MPs Robert Buckland and Justin TomlinsonSwindon Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for an active Spring, with breakfast at a football stadium, a corporate dinner, and a visit by both of the town´s MPs on the cards.

Jane Bromley, the chief executive of Strategenic Ltd, will be the guest speaker at the monthly networking breakfast on Thursday, April 11.

She´ll be sharing Five Tips to Attracting Customers like Bees to a Honeypot – and Keep them Coming Back.

The event will be held at Swindon Town Football Club from 7.30am to 9.30am on Thursday, April 11. Attendance costs £16+VAT for members and £26+VAT for non-members.

On Wednesday, April 24 the Chamber will be hosting its Corporate Insight Dinner at The Pear Tree, Purton.

Mark Charlton, group communications director at Smiths News PLC, will be talking about the firm´s ´landmark year´, when it doubled its share price and was named South West Business of the Year 2012.

Mark will give an insight into how driving profitability through cost reduction and entering new markets – both here and abroad – helped Smiths News to a record year of profit growth.

The event starts at 6.30pm. Attendance costs £40+VAT for members and £50+VAT for non-members.

And on Thursday, May 17, Conservative MPs Justin Tomlinson (Swindon North) and Robert Buckland (Swindon South) will be giving an informal briefing to business leaders over breakfast.

The event, which starts at 7.30am at the Marriott Hotel, Pipers Way, Swindon, will give attendees the chance to discuss current economic and trading conditions and government priorities in a relaxed and professional environment.

Attendance costs £16+VAT for members and £26+VAT for non-members.

For more information about any of these events, or to book a place, log on to