New Paisley First boss Archie is just raring to go
Business improvement manager plans exciting new projects
The new manager of the group tasked with improving business in Paisley town centre said he is excited by his new role.
Archie Dempster took up the post as manager of Paisley First, the name of the town’s Business Improvement District (BID), last month and has been busy meeting retailers, working on the new Paisley Artisan Workspace and Sales (PAWS) on Wellmeadow Street and the upcoming Winterfest.
He comes with an impressive background having worked on BIDs in other parts of Scotland for the past six years as well as several years of academic research on urban policy for Glasgow University, Strathclyde Business School and the California Institute of Technology.
He’s also run social enterprises, worked with anti-poverty groups, created a senior citizens centre, and worked at the European Parliament.
The Greenock man yesterday told the Paisley Daily Express: “I was working on a BID in Dumbarton which was coming to an end when one of my colleagues told me about the Paisley job. I wasn’t interested but he left the information on my desk.
“By the time I’d read through it, I’d sent in the application with just half an hour to the deadline.
“I’m genuinely very excited by this job. I see my job is to support, advance and promote businesses in Paisley town centre.
“My ambition is to help businesses in Paisley town centre be as successful as they can be and make Paisley town centre, as a place, as successful as it can be.”
Archie recognises there are challenges to town centre retailers from out- of- town shopping malls and online shopping but believes Paisley businesses are capable of doing well.
“We don’t want to be playing catchup, we want to be ahead of the game.
“We’ve got a really good team of staff with Eileen Heron and Natalie McShane and a really good, strong board.
“Nearly 600 businesses pay us money and I want to see every one of them be successful. The BID model has got flaws.
“You’ve got to pay the money whether you want to or not. It’s a legal requirement.
“But I’d say to people who don’t like that – what’s the alternative?
“Nobody in the six years I’ve worked in this field has come up with a possible alternative which gets the same results.
“I’m not saying everything we do is successful, but the pace of change is so fast that sitting still and doing nothing is not an option.”
Already, Paisley First has held the succesful Pride of Paisley lions trail, Paisley’s Got Talent and Restaurant Week and is also behind the murals which have been popping up around the town centre.
Next on the agenda is getting the PAWS space up and running and some artisans moved in before Christmas, as well as Winterfest with the ice rink on Central Way. And Archie is looking forward to getting his teeth into the job in 2018.
He said: “We have about eight or nine exciting events and projects which we’re finalising and plan to announce early in the new year.
“This time next year, I’d love to be standing at the BID board meeting talking about what a successful year we’ve had and have a plan for 2019 already worked out.”
Excited Archie Dempster is the new manager of Paisley First