BRAND new Solihull Business Improvement District manager Melanie Palmer has pledged to make every levy count for BID members.
After spending years in retail, from shop floor to management, before running her own business, the BID manager said she understood the importance for levy payers “that every penny of their money is spent in the best way possible.”
Which is why, just five weeks into the job, Melanie is already implementing a face-to-face survey for all 468 members.
“For me, it’s all about listening to our levy payers,” she said.
But that isn’t all, the busy manager has also had a team reshuffle, got to work on a joint website for BID and Visit Solihull and overseen her first festival - The Big Taste.
“We had some real success,” said Melanie. “Fallen Angel Bakery had queues coming out of the door and the Ramada Hotel think they have made about £20,000 in revenue from the day through wedding and conference bookings. And BB Boutique said their shelves were empty!”
Melanie said she wanted all the BID’s events to have a real promotional and economic pay-off for members.
“We are being more selective about our festivals. I feel that if we’re doing a festival it should have some impact on the levy payers. At The Big Taste, we had 19 gazebos; all for members to sell from and promote themselves.”
As part of the new focus, the Solihull Dance Festival is no more.
But BID have also taken over the ailing Christmas Market and Melanie said she was looking forward to breathing new life into the event.
The new face of the organisation, who took over from Shirley Sturzaker, after joining the team when it was first launched in 2010, has plenty of plans for the town centre. These include gaining Purple Flag status for its nightlife to boosting the borough with gateway marketing.
But the big long-term ambition is for Solihull BID to become a Centre of Excellence.
“Solihull is already fantastic. We want to lead the rest of the country.
“We could become a shining light to the 160 BIDs up and down the country, and it would also become income generating for us.”
What do you think the BID’s priorities should be? Write in and let us know or email firstname.lastname@example.org