BUSINESSES across Solihull town centre are preparing to turn vivid shades of purple next Friday (October 2) as part of a national weekend of events celebrating the news that the town is one of just 70 across the UK to have been awarded a prestigious Purple Flag status for the evening economy.
Purple Flag status, a scheme operated by the Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM), is awarded to locations that have demonstrated a consistent commitment to developing the evening economy and ensuring visitors enjoy a high quality, safe and friendly night out.
To mark the award, Solihull Business Improvement District is hosting the town’s second Purple Friday – when shops, restaurants, bars and cafes dress their windows, stores and staff in shades of mauve and violet and offer exclusive, one-day only treats and deals to tempt the 20,000 town centre employees to explore Solihull after work.
Whilst Purple Friday might be designed to encourage town centre workers and visitors to have a bit of fun there’s an important business imperative underpinning the event.
The evening economy is worth over £66bn annually to the UK, supporting thousands of businesses, employing 4.5 per cent of the UK workforce, and significantly contributing to local economies.
Solihull’s Purple Friday is one of a series of events being held across the UK next weekend in aimed at capturing people’s imaginations, changing perceptions and encouraging people to do something different with their evening in a variety of locations.
John Timms, Operations Manager for Solihull BID, who led the town’s campaign to be awarded with a Purple Flag, added: “It has been a real privilege to lead this campaign and to see the hard work of retail and leisure businesses across the town centre rewarded.
“Purple Flag status is a recognised symbol of quality – much like blue flags are for beaches – and being able to use the Purple Flag symbol furthers strengthen our marketing activity to encourage people to choose Solihull for a night out.
“Celebrating with our second Purple Friday felt like the natural thing to do.
“The town really got into the spirit of the event in 2014 and it helped to drive additional footfall into town centre businesses across the day and especially into the evening. I am looking forward to seeing even more creativity this year.”