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Tom Kikkert and the formula for a successful retail in Hengelo

19 May 2017

Many city-center entrepreneurs, members of the Program Team Downtown and other curious people from Hengelo (the Netherlands) gathered last Monday evening, 8th May, in the library of the Citycafé074. Citycafé074 is an initiative supported by RetaiLink, that works for the development of a stronger inner city in Hengelo. The chief guest of this evening was Tom Kikkert, who inspired entrepreneurs with a story about identity marketing. An article by Susan Meijer.

Kikkert is an old friend of the RetaiLink network, as he participated as a guest expert in the 2nd Transnational Meeting celebrated last october in Sibénik (Croatia). He started his speech in Hengelo expressing his surprise about how cinemas continue to grow in spite of Netflix's arrival and other alternatives. Therefore, he explained he sees the same trend in retail: Consumers still want to go to a physical store as long as the store offers something different than the webshop. The question is: how do you make sure that the consumer comes to your store?

The 26-year-old Kikkert got it done with his impressive contribution. Afterwards, many entrepreneurs and the municipality exchanged addresses, drawing lessons together from the successful examples explained by Kikkert. They will certainly continue working together!

About 20 enthusiastic entrepreneurs from the heart of downtown have signed up to get started actively. This group is composed mainly by retailers (jewelers, clothing, optics, florist, hairdresser, etc.) and also some representants of the hospitality sector. Those retailers see the need to join efforts for the inner city and also for their own shop.

This week, the municipality will discuss a follow-up project with some entrepreneurs and Tom Kikkert. The intention is that the owners of the shops will be actively involved in the short term, both on individual, and at district and city level.

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"City Vouchers" for the best ideas to revitalise Hengelo's downtown

During the Citycafé074 event, four plans and projects that aim to improve the city center received a "City Voucher". Those first vouchers were issued by the Center Manager in Hengelo and the Deputy of the Overijssel Province.

The winner ideas were:

  • A Streetfood & Fashion Winter event, organized by various entrepreneurs in the city center received 1,250 euros.
  • A plan for using the “Beeksquare” for cultural events to make a lively city center received 2,500 euros.
  • The StreetArt project of the HeArtGallery Foundation, that will happen on the coming summer months, also got a check of 2,500 euros. In this case, the jury took into account the high level of the artists and the expected number of visitors.
  • The bench for Menthol & Roosje also received a city check of 2,500 euros. Artist Carel Lanters is busy building the bench in an empty building on the Nieuwstraat, a shopping district in Hengelo, and everyone can see the work in progress.

Anyone who has a good idea can sign up for the next round. In this case, the maximum contribution is 2,500 euros.

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