Mechanics Arms' bid to get business booming again in South Shields town centre

Pub bosses have joined the fight to get business booming again in South Shields – and they think they’ve found a way to pull people back into the town centre.

An event at the Mechanics Arms in East Street on January 23 will see business owners discussing how they can work together to keep each other afloat in the wake of recent closures in the town centre.

It comes as Gina Smith and daughter Louise Carr, who have run the Mechanics Arms and its neighbour the Lambton Arms for 13 years, have teamed up with Deja Vu owner and market campaigner Carol Gibson to host regular events at the pub in a bid to bring footfall to the centre.

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As well as monthly mediumship evenings, fashion shows and clothes sales, Gina will be offering local traders space to sell their goods for free or a small donation to the pubs chosen charities.

Mechanics Arms manager Gina Smith (R), Louise Carr (L) and Carol Gibson, are holding regular events at the pub to try and revive the town centre.

“I'm very lucky that I'm still in business after 13 years, but I’ve noticed a big change in trade,” said Gina.

“Everybody is behind everybody because we’re all feeling the pinch and everybody wants their business to work, so we’re trying to help however we can. Hopefully it will snowball and people will want to come into the town.”

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After the success of the first market event in December, businesses are hoping to keep the momentum going.

Gina added: “Shops and pubs benefited from the influx of people coming into the town, but we don't just want it every now and then, we want this all the time.”

Mechanics Arms manager Gina Smith (R) with Louise Carr (L) and Carol Gibson are hoping the events will increase footfall in the town centre.

While Carol believes businesses need to work together if they are to save the town centre.

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“Who wants to see another pub shut its doors? Pubs like the Mechanics Arms have got so much heritage and nostalgia they should be used,” she said.

“This way everyone’s a winner, the pubs and the cafes will benefit and the public will have somewhere to go on a regular basis.”

She added: “It's about working together as a community. We’ll try anything to stop local businesses closing down.”

Business owners are invited to the Mechanics Arms at 6pm on Thursday, January 23. For more information about events contact 0191 455 8865.