This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 17/03/2018.
Boxpark owner claims: ‘We’re trying to attract people to Croydon by ourselves’
CEO Roger Wade has called for a stronger high street in Croydon to draw more shoppers.
The owner of Boxpark has called for greater regeneration of the borough claiming that “if they don’t come to Boxpark they don’t come to Croydon”.
Founder and CEO of Boxpark, Roger Wade, is passionate about the growth of Croydon and wants others in the borough to pull “in the same direction” as the flagship venue.
Although he has conceded that Croydon is not Shoreditch he is determined to see footfall flourishing in the borough and wants to see more attractions in the area.
At present, Mr Wade claims, Boxpark are “trying to attract people to Croydon by ourselves”.
The entrepreneur has called on businesses in the borough to pull together and work towards regenerating the area.
He said: “This is not Shoreditch, the customers are not the same. The draw is not the same.
“If they are not coming to Boxpark they are not coming to Croydon frankly.
“We’re currently trying to attract people to Croydon by ourselves.”
Mr Wade believes greater footfall will be better for Boxpark, as well as the town as a whole, and wants the high street to have more of a draw.
“We do need a strong Croydon for there to be a strong Boxpark.
“We want to see positive generation. We need a strong Croydon because we want people to come down here.”
“We need to start pulling in the same direction, and we’ve got to believe it’s going to be regenerated.
“If it were up to me, I’d love a Westfield built tomorrow.”
Mr Wade said he has tried to use events at Boxpark to create a larger draw, and bring greater footfall to the area.
He has also stated that attempts to get broader support for events has not always been successful.
Mr Wade said: “We reach out to cultural groups in the community, but what is the phrase, ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’.
“If people don’t want to work with us, that’s fine, we can’t make them. But we do try.”
Recent accounts published on Companies House recorded a £500,000 in the first six month of Boxpkar’s trading in Croydon.
Mr Wade has said this was planned for and that he is thinking long-term.
However, he has warned that businesses and developers in Croydon can’t simply wait for the future to happen and need to make positive plans.
He said: “We have some major social issues in Croydon, and Croydon is in a state of flux.
“One concern is that some people are complacent about change. But how are they supporting businesses in Croydon now?
“People say ‘Croydon is changing, it’s being redeveloped’, but we need to focus on what we’re working with at the moment.
“We’ve got a strong restaurant quarter; we’re going to hopefully see Fairfield Halls back very soon. I would like to believe that Boxpark is one of the major things which is helping Croydon improve.
“Centrale and Whifgift are in a position of uncertainly at the moment, and there is a stalling housing market.”