East Lothian Council is delivering a ‘Shop Doctor’ initiative to support local retailers by helping them increase turnover and profitability.

Shop Doctor is funded by the Business Support Recovery Investment Fund and is based on a similar, successful programme run in previous years.

It will be delivered by Bill Smith of Let’s Talk Shop Ltd. With almost 30 years of experience, Bill has become a recognised expert in the delivery of specialised advice to the independent, rural and market town retail sector, supplying bespoke consultancy and mentoring support as ‘The Shop Doctor’.

Well over 500 independent retailers in almost 50 towns have received practical advice and recommendations as to how each might develop turnover and profitability from Bill in the last five years and it is now time for the businesses of East Lothian to benefit from these services.

 The programme will consist of:

  • One-to-one shop visits aimed at revitalising the business
  • Follow up meetings
  • Grant funding for recommended improvements

The Business Recovery Investment Fund is £600k set aside from the council’s Capital Budget in 2021 to support recovery and resilience following the various restrictions imposed on businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding has been allocated to projects including grants to the East Lothian Tourism Attractions Group and East Lothian Golf Tourism Alliance; funding to renew the Visit East Lothian website and innovative app to help support and manage the large number of visitors to East Lothian’s coast; expansion of the East Lothian Gift Card scheme and funding to various projects to support town centre businesses including expert support such as Shop Doctor.

Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Environment, Economic Development and Tourism, said: “This is a great opportunity for some of our fantastic, independent retailers to get some valuable advice from a trusted expert. We know that locals and visitors alike appreciate the diverse range of small businesses we have here in East Lothian so anything we can do to support that sector, especially as they are coping with a difficult economic situation, is to be welcomed. I hope that those who take part in the scheme reap the benefits.”

Interested local independent retailers in East Lothian should contact Economic Development to request an application form – economicdevelopment@eastlothian.gov.uk

The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 22nd January 2023.


Published: Wednesday, 11th January 2023