A walk through Chelmsford last night revealed increasing signs of the current recession. Apart from the obvious signs such as closed shoe shops and an almost empty Woolworths store, there were several more subtle signs that things are not going well for local businesses in the area.
The first problem was seen on the door of Flare Recruitment on Chelmsford High Street. Just a note saying that there had been a change of office hours, and a number to call. We can only assume that they are still operating from that office, but it does not bode well.
The second sign was also related to jobs in the area. For the first time since I can remember, Tesco’s were not advertising for staff. There was a notice on the board stating “No vacancies at present”. A sure sign of worsening job prospects in the Chelmsford area.
The third sign was even more subtle. The sun bed at Locke’s beauty salon is no longer available. Most likely due to a reduction in appointments meaning that revenue is not covering the rental fees for the unit.
There are also signs of people making a greater effort to promote their businesses. The Electrical Shop on Baddow Road has a new sign with bold and dominant lettering. Q Ball Snooker club has a board on the high street advertising its snooker and pool tables, maybe memberships are dwindling there too.
Just up the road from here, the motorcycle dealers Bits ‘n Pieces has closed down, with no sign to say that they have relocated.
Strangely, the estate agents on Duke Street all seem to be working harder than ever, with many working late into the evening. I guess that they are all fighting for the same few sales. Maybe today’s budget, with another stamp duty holiday, will see a rise in house sales.
All these small signs are easily apparent after a short walk through the town. I am now keen to see what other problems are out there. I shall report back soon.