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Retailers we've supported

We've helped many retail businesses in the county. Below you'll find information and testimonials from just a few of them.

Examples of businesses we've helped

John from L&J Distribution said....

"From the initial contact via a telephone call all the way through to receiving the funding when the project was completed, I have to say The Targeted Business Improvement scheme team couldn't have been more helpful and professional with guiding us and offering first class advice to any questions I had. The whole procedure is very easy and less time consuming than I originally expected.

It is a very commendable service that aims to help small businesses and communities improve the local area and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to other business colleagues."

Gursh Kahlon, Director of Clearwater Developments Ltd said....

"Our first major acquisition was in 2012 where we acquired a former nursing home on the sea front in Seaham, we liaised with Durham Council (DCC) on the scheme, and we were supported financially via a business improvement grant which allowed us to create five commercial units.

This was a huge success for us and created sustainable jobs across the various business that are still now in place which range from a hairdressers to an estate agents to a restaurant.

We believe the job creation to be upwards of 35 people for the particular project which DCC supported us through all the way. Since this, we carried out the conversion of a former doctor's surgery into two large commercial units in 2020. DCC again supported us financially towards the frontage improvements on this project. This building now forms a prominent feature of the area and employees over 30 staff across the two businesses. We found the overall process smooth, advice and support from the staff very informative and responsive. The financial support we received from DCC instrumental in the ability to create the new commercial units to a high standard and attract the businesses that we now have in place today"

Katie Lishman, Owner of Head To Toe Aesthetics said....

"The scheme has made a tremendous difference to the business. We bought a derelict building and the funds we received helped us to totally transform it into an amazing space. The new clinic has made a great difference to the street, and we get many compliments from the residents. We have taken on two additional members of staff who are now an essential part of the team.

Our business is thriving since moving to Blackhill and we are so grateful for the support. The forms were easy to fill in and if we needed assistance with anything the officers were always there to help. All emails and phone calls were answered quickly. I would be happy to say they went above and beyond to help us with every hurdle we had along the way!" 

David Gill a local entrepreneur in Seaham said....

"Having visited Seaham in 2013, instantly falling in love with its potential and charm, we had a vision in mind of what Seaham Harbour could become. We acquired our first property later that year, this is on North Terrace and is occupied by the Lamp Room a business owned and ran by Russ Wood.

Subsequently we opened Gills Fry Fry in 2014 and completed the purchase of the historic Harbour View Hotel in 2015. Plans are now in full swing for the major redevelopment of the site, which will include a luxury Fish Restaurant, 10 Pin Bowling, and executive residential apartments/penthouse suite. This will be a substantial addition to the very popular sea front location. 

In early 2017, we acquired the corner plot of land to the opposite end of Harbour View terrace of properties. It is our vision to create two architecturally similar 'bookends' to this iconic run of buildings. We firmly believe it will bring additional visitors from the surrounding areas to this beautiful location, as well as creating new jobs for local residents.

We are excited to be making these changes to an evolving expansion of the retail and leisure offer in this area and look forward to working with local Architects and local planning department to create a unique place of interest for everyone to enjoy.

The support we received from Durham County Council has been amazing throughout the entire process from inception of my business ideas and facilitation at meetings with council officers to the financial support via the targeted business improvement scheme"

"There's more to Markets...."

Collins English dictionary defines a street market as "an open-air market often held only on a particular day of the week in a designated area" but national campaigns such as "Love Your Market" evidences that our street market are much more than that and remain an intrinsic part of the retail offer in our town centres.

Our overall vision for our markets across County Durham is to create vibrant dynamic markets that provide access to quality affordable food and other goods and that have significant economic benefits both for the county and for local market towns. We recognise that markets have substantial economic benefits that are not only integral to maximising a town centre's offer, but also engaging with existing retailers, communities, producers and future entrepreneurs. Trading on street markets can provide the opportunity for business starts-ups, and online businesses to market test products in a retail sales environment.

Jackie Donnelly, Community Economic Development Principal Project Officer said "Street markets are an integral part of a town centre's retail offer.  Anyone wishing to take the opportunity to trade on a street market can help Durham County Council achieve our vision for street markets whist supporting entrepreneurial activity."

To find out more about growing your business by accessing street markets, contact us. You can also find out more on our Retail, hospitality and leisure business support services page.


Vivienne Page,  Mapps Mortgage and Insurance Ltd, Crook

"Our recent experience of receiving a grant for our shop front renovation was excellent. The DCC officer explained the process well and the documents to complete were straight forward.  We provided the information requested and the grant was agreed promptly.  Once the work was completed we submitted our proof and received the monies within five working days. Would highly recommend." 

Joanne Rogers, Twilight Hair Studio, Langley Moor

"A friendly supportive team who helped me patiently through the process."

Bryan Haldane, Daejan Durham Ltd

"Excellent Process from a very good team."

Oxley Pratt

"We would just like to say how happy we are with the help we received from the team at Durham County Council and the Targeted Business Improvement Funding Scheme.

"We were given grant assistance to refurbish the front of our new office suite on Medomsley Road, Consett, and are absolutely delighted with the results. It has totally transformed the building, and the positive comments from friends, neighbours and people just passing by certainly back this observation up. We have had local people saying the work has completely lifted the area around and many have asked who did the work etc. It's like a new building!

"The process of applying was very easy and help was given whenever we needed it.

"A big thank you from everyone at Oxley Pratt Accounting Services."

Heather, owner, Maddisons

"We could really see the potential outside but because we had recently invested in extending the kitchen, we couldn't do it without support. We have always found the council very supportive of the business, so we took our plans to them and were thrilled when they said they could help.

"Customers absolutely love the outside space, they can bring in their dogs and they use it whatever the weather. And as word of mouth spreads, more and more C2C cyclists are finding their way to us, which is brilliant." 

Peter Conroy, director, Castledene Sales & Lettings, Stanley

"I worked with the Community Economic Development Team on a new Estate Agents office opening in Stanley for Castledene. I found the team to be, not only very supportive, but importantly they have a real desire to see the area develop from an economic perspective - all underlined with a very personable approach. Keep up the good work." 

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