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St Albans gives new meaning to ‘window shopping’ with new app

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St Albans gives new meaning to ‘window shopping’ with new app

Independent shops, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, and salons in the cathedral city of St Albans have become the first retailers in the UK to trial a revolutionary new technology. The purpose of the new app is to help both shops and shoppers in the current challenging climate. The technology is designed to help nervous customers feel safer when they are shopping and to give retailers with small shop spaces the capacity to accommodate more shoppers. 

Contactless Window Shopping is the brainchild of marketing consultant Jez Dutton from design consultancy That Happy Place. It involves placing tags in shop windows that shoppers can scan using their smartphones, taking them directly to the shop’s website where they can directly browse and buy from the shop’s range of products. 

This means customers can be inspired by the shop window but buy without even going into the shop if the shop is at capacity or they feel nervous. Orders are then delivered to the customer’s house. 

Restaurant and bar owners, along with hairdressers and beauty salons are also trialling this revolutionary technology, giving their customers the opportunity to directly book appointments through the tag in their premise’s window. 

Some 13 shops in St Albans have signed up so far including Gymboree, Headcase Barbers, Hers N Sirs, Eve & Adam, The Rug Maker, Cositas, The Dressing Room, Jago Jewellers, Refill Pantry, St Albans Museum & Gallery, and Kingshill Jewellers. 

The Dressing Room St Albans

The Dressing Room, one of 13 shops trialling the new shopping technology.

Talking about designing the new technology, Dutton said: “Right now, many independent high-street shops have been badly hit: they are either temporarily closed or they have to accommodate queuing outside, and both are terrible for business. However, they did have their shop windows and an online presence. And meanwhile everyone has quickly adopted contactless payment via their phones. 

“Out of this was created Contactless Window Shopping to ensure a fast, frictionless way of connecting the high-street presence to the online one: finding products, booking appointments, seeing opening hours, or even accessing menus. I’m delighted that St Albans is the first high street in the UK to roll this out and hopefully it will help many businesses get back on their feet sooner.” 

The St Albans Business Improvement District (BID), which represents 500 city-centre businesses, is spearheading the introduction of this technology. 

Co-chairs of the St Albans BID, Councillor Mandy McNeill, Portfolio Holder Business, Culture and Tourism, and Sarah Gillow, owner of luxury jewellers Galio, said: “We are delighted to be trialling this new technology to help shoppers shop safely and to support our independent businesses during this difficult time. 

“With some of our smaller shops having limited capacity for customers, this tech means that you can literally window shop with one tap from your smartphone.” 

What are your thoughts on how successful this could be and what other shops in St Albans would you like to see participating? Answers below…

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Love Brownies opens new cafe and shop in St Albans

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Love Brownies opens in new cafe and shop in St Albans

Love Brownies, a Yorkshire Dales-inspired chocolate brownie company, is to open a beautiful café and brownie shop in the heart of St Albans,creating a number of jobs and adding a premium brand to St Albans’ bustling high street.

Established in 2009, Love Brownies is known for its decadent brownies and delicious seasonal menus. Originating in the Yorkshire Dales, the brand has a growing network of brownie shops and cafés, with St Albans being the fifteenth to open in the UK. So what makes Love Brownies so outrageously delicious? It’s no secret: they bake each one individually, by hand, using the best ingredients possible.

The Love Brownies Range

The new Love Brownies shop in St Albans will offer a mouth watering menu of indulgent handmade chocolate brownies in a variety of tempting flavours, magnificent brownie milkshakes (with vegan alternatives), a range of premium, freshly-brewed coffees and the bold flavours of Northern Bloc ice cream.

Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal said: “The St Albans shop will be our first to open in Hertfordshire and we’re so excited to bring our award-winning brownies and delicious Dales-inspired menu to a brand new audience. 

Inside Love Brownies St Albans

The inside of a Love Brownies is a unique blend of a cafe and shop. St Albans residents can pop in to the cafe for a drink and one of their fabulous brownies. Love Brownies merchandise and products can also be purchased in store. These include Love Brownies tea towels, Love Brownies mugs and Love Brownies aprons.

For those on the go, a delicious ‘Dales Kitchen’ breakfast and lunch menu with pastries and jam-packed sandwiches will also be available for St Albans residents.

Love Brownies opens in new cafe and shop in St Albans

Love Brownies’ Head Baker and Owner, Chantal Teal also said “The shop is in a fantastic location and we’re anticipating a busy summer! We’re so pleased to be bringing business into the area during a time that has been so difficult for so many and can’t wait to be a part of the St Albans community.”

Where to find Love Brownies in St Albans?

The new Love Brownies café will be located at Number 1, Market Place and will open to the public at 8am on Wednesday 21 July. For more information about Love Brownies or to see a sample menu visit www.lovebrownies.co.uk or follow @lovebrowniesbakery on Facebook and Instagram.

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Bedford to get Euros final to make Italians feel more at home

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UEFA have decided to move home advantage from England to Italy by demanding the Euros 2020 final takes places at Meadow Lane, Bedford instead of Wembley.

After overcoming Denmark to reach the European final, England and their fans excitement to play Italy in the English home of football may have been dashed. UEFA have decided to move home advantage from England to Italy by demanding the Euros 2020 final takes places at Meadow Lane, Bedford instead of Wembley. Bedford is unofficially referred to a Britain’s ‘little Italy’ thanks to it large Italian population.

Why switch from Wembley to Bedford?

One of the talking points of England’s win over Denmark was the clear advantage England had over the Danes. With over 58,034 of the supporters at the game being England fans compared to the Danes 1,966, UEFA have decided that they want to remove home advantage away from England. According to UEFA’s Fair Play officials Stan Dupp and Fumagalli Enzo, switching the Euro 2020 finals from Wembley to Bedford means Italy can also benefit from playing on home soil at the same time as England.

Can Meadow Lane host 60,000 plus fans?

Absolutely not. But that is not a problem as Bedford High street will be pedestrianised and large screens will be erected all the way down to the embankment.

Would Bedford benefit from being pedestrianised?
Ahead of the clash, England fans heading to Bedford have been advised to brush up on their Italian so we have created a ‘Nine step guide to speaking Italian’ below. These are probably the only nine words you will need to know for the game.

Nine steps to speaking Italian

Nine steps to speaking Italian

 

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Wendover welcomes Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion opening

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Today marks the opening of Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion in the historic market town of Wendover. Located in Buckinghamshire, it becomes the seventh site in the popular Bel & The Dragon group.

Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, the new country inn will emulate Bel & The Dragon’s distinctly cosy and classic manner and will be managed by Matt Coupland, an experienced General Manager.

Inside Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover

With 23 beautiful en suite bedrooms and an extensive selection of fine wine and British food, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will be a sought-after destination for weekday and weekend breaks. Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is a historic grade II-listed coaching inn with stunning features dating back to 1669 and possibly earlier, with much of the original building still standing.

Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion has been sensitively restored this year, with the aim of providing a premium, contemporary English inn, with sophisticated charm and historic character and also offers alfresco dining with 160 covers in a beautifully created covered and heated patio area.

Dining at Bel & The Dragon Wendover

With an emphasis on provenance and quality, our team of talented chefs have created a menu full of modern adaptations of simple classics. Think Devonshire mussels in a cider and bacon broth to start, followed by sustainable Cornish fish and crayfish pie or salt-baked saddle of lamb with seasonal vegetables to share, as well as a range of daily specials.

The pudding menu will be full of theatre, including the Bel & The Dragon classic of a flaming Baked Alaska, served with salted caramel ice cream, providing a perfect end to any meal.

Wine at Bel & The Dragon

As with all Bel & The Dragon sites, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will offer an outstanding selection of wines at competitive prices. In addition, the comprehensive From the Cellar list includes some of the greatest vintages of the world’s most sought-after wines, and the use of the Coravin system allows guest to sample rare wines by the glass.

Word from the General Manager

Matt Coupland, who is originally from Lincoln, moved down to join Fuller’s eight years ago at The Paper Mill at Apsley Lock near Hemel Hempstead. After completing the Fuller’s Management Training Programme, and having acted as a holding manager at The Paper Mill, he moved to The Six Bells at Thame for his first general manager appointment. He subsequently moved to The Red Lion in Wendover and has played a key role in its transformation to a Bel & The Dragon.

Matt said: “This is a dream come true for me – it’s a fantastic site, in a great area, and Bel & The Dragon is an outstanding brand. I can’t wait to bring our fantastic menu and excellent wine list to the great and good of Wendover, and our stunning bedrooms to those who want to come and visit.

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming back locals and visitors alike and to working with the local neighbourhood to ensure Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion takes a place at the very heart of the community.”

Directions to Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover

Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is an easy commute from within Beds, Bucks & Herts.

Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion address

9 High St, Wendover, Aylesbury HP22 6DU

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