Lisa sets out her stall as Alnwick traders’ new chairman

The ambitious new boss of Alnwick Chamber of Trade wants to make a visit to the town a world-class experience.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:03 pm
Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade. Picture by Jane Coltman

Lisa Aynsley, 46, who runs the men’s boutique Hotspur 1364 in Narrowgate, has taken over from retiring chairman Carlo Biagiani, who set up the chamber nine years ago.

“I was really inspired by Bill Grimsey’s trip to Alnwick in February and agreed with much of what he was saying,” Lisa told the Gazette.

Retail expert Mr Grimsey toured the town and made a presentation to the town council’s business forum, warning that the traditional high street as we know it will disappear in just a few years.

“I want to be part of building Alnwick into a vibrant, exciting town that mixes retail with community events to bring visitors and locals a world-class experience,” said Lisa. “There is a huge amount of positivity about and we need to build on that momentum and embrace the change that we are going to have to make.”

But she was under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of her.

“We need everyone on board, to believe in the town centre and what we can achieve, and that is going to be my biggest challenge,” she said.

Lisa, whose father Richard Aynsley has a successful haulage business in the town, appealed to traders to join the chamber and be part of its evolution.

“We can change perceptions and attitudes if we all pull together – and we all have the best interests of the town at heart,” she said.

“Apart from a good shopping experience, it has to be about events and attractions. We have to start looking at the town as outsiders – what do they want when they come to visit? What do they expect?” she said.

Lisa also backed the Gazette’s ongoing town-centre survey, saying it was crucial that we find out what people want in their high streets.

She praised the outgoing chairman: “Massive thanks to Carlo, without his commitment and strong leadership, the Chamber wouldn’t be where it is today.”