History of the Wye Business Association

Wye – A Unique Village with its own Business Association

We know that towns and large resorts have their Chamber of Commerce, but we wonder is there any other village in this country with its own Business Association run on the same lines as we ran ours?

The Wye Business Association all started in November 1995 when we woke up to the fact that times were changing. Motorways and the Big Supermarkets had crept up on us. People’s lives had changed from day to day shopping. More women were going out to work and the whole social structure had altered dramatically.

Methodist Church Wye

Whenever we felt the need we met in the Wye Methodist Church upstairs meeting room.

Wye like many other villages had suffered from the new trend of one stop shopping at the big multiple stores. It was time to act! We first met at the local tea rooms (Now a very pleasant Chinese Restaurant). Over many months of discussion out of concern, the Shop Keepers and Businesses formed The Wye Business Association. We agreed on three aims. Firstly to promote the Shops and Businesses, secondly to increase Community Spirit and thirdly to Raise the Profile of our village. We obtained The Parish Council’s support in achieving these aims.

For the last twenty years we have held a Christmas Street Party pulling together the various clubs and associations of our village to provide a very enjoyable evening for all and at the same time raising money to purchase Christmas lights for our village. Any surplus funds are used for good causes within our village.

Over the years things changes and we became aware that there were people now working from home and that others may not know about them. After a recruitment drive we had a membership of fifty eight with not only shops but an extensive range of businesses.  We  produced our own business directory advertising the shops and businesses. This went out once a year to over 3,000 homes. It was delivered by Robert Earl one of our shop keepers who owned Leppers Homes & Gardens. (Now retired) He did this at the same time as delivering his own brochure. It was all about pulling our resources together and fighting back

Tourism was hot on our agenda as we had three bed and breakfasts, three pubs, and four restaurants. There is also accommodation at some of these. We worked closely with Ashford Borough Council’s Tourist Department and  connected our web site to theirs (with the help of one of our local website designers!) It’s all about helping each other and linking up. We  formed a tourist information point at 141 Bridge Street, Wye (tel: 01233 812671).

In joining together, our actions reminded our community what an important part of our village fabric we are. Although we cannot turn the clock back, we hoped that by forming our Business Association and being active we  gained loyalty and support from our village.

Since those early days the nature of our village shops and businesses have changed. The WBA is still in place for when it is needed. Currently it takes the shape of this website holding Wye businesses together.