New opportunity for retailers in the Black Country

The Black Country Growth Hub team have been working hard on a new development opportunity, as part of the Experts in Residence programme.

This will be a short programme of tailored support for independent retailers on the high street, including a range of workshops and 1:1 support. Working with the participants to create a proactive plan of targeted action to increase sales. A process that can be repeated by the business owner using the tools and strategies learnt.

The programme will consist of two components:

  • 1:1 Discovery Sessions: an initial session to find out how well businesses are trading currently, how they coped through the pandemic and what their key priorities are. We will also use this opportunity to make sure the content of the workshops will suit the participants and discuss the best dates for the businesses involved.
  • Retail Development Training Sessions: we will provide 5 working sessions for groups of up to 12 participants where each participant will leave with an action plan to complete. These workshops will be delivered over Zoom for convenience and will include a mixture of slides, breakout time, feedback/Q&A sessions and completing the plan throughout the week.

The retail development training sessions will be delivered by industry experts Sally Pepper and Alison Read:

Sally Pepper

Sally is a retail consultant supporting independent high street shops and other businesses, who she believes have a strong role to play in the revival of our town centres. She has a passion for working with others who have a strong purpose for their business.

With over 25 years’ experience in the retail sector including 10 years’ project management she now works with a variety of business owners from start-up’s through to well established retailers and other high street businesses, supporting them with a wide range of services. Sally provides a blended approach of mentoring, coaching and training.

As a visual merchandising specialist, she works with retailers on all the elements that help them to attract customers and silently sell: brand image, windows, shop layout, product merchandising, signage and communication. Other aspects around this include: planning, sales analysis, target setting, business vision and strategy, marketing strategies, customer service and more.

Sally has written and delivered a variety of workshops specifically for independent retailers, including Retail Development Programmes for various local authorities that include tailored workshops and 1:1 support for businesses.

Sally is a One of many® certified Women’s Coach a full member of the Association Business Mentors and an accredited adviser with the ibd Group.

Alison Read

Alison has spent her working life diagnosing sales and business problems, working with management teams to establish sales and service cultures to drive results.

John Lewis trained, she has worked in retail and complex sales for over 20 years and operates at all levels from Board members to customer facing staff.

Personal interest in the High Street led her to believe that independent retailers needed support to drive footfall. Ill equipped to do this many recognised the need to do it, but do not know how to integrate it into their day-to-day activities.

How to Create your Own Footfall has run for 3 years. Accredited as a face to face and virtual classroom facilitator she has worked with over 100 independents and major companies around the globe. She enjoys designing and facilitating training and coaching small business owners.

This opportunity is fully-funded and will have no cost to your business, other than your time. We feel this is an extremely valuable opportunity to develop as an independent retailer and we hope you will be able to make time in your busy schedule for the sessions which will be tailored to the business participating. There will also be potential for long-term account management from the wider Black Country Growth Hub team in the future.

We are excited to bring this opportunity to local retail businesses, if you'd like to join the Experts in Residence programme, please email Lucy Cross at 

If you have any questions about the Experts in Residence programme and the information listed above, please email or call us on 0333 070 5805