Richmond has an almost bewildering array of businesses that help to make the town so popular with residents and visitors.

But even the best benefit from nurture and the Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association (ORBTA) represents more than 100 businesses in the area, all independents, whose diverse range of goods and services contribute to the town’s character.

Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association helps to inject vitality into the community through activities including Original Richmond in Bloom, organising an annual Easter window competition and supporting initiatives such as the new MayFest music festival.

Chair Marcia McLuckie in Richmond

In addition, members work behind the scenes, holding regular business meetings, contributing views on planning consultations for new developments, running the association’s website and offering advice to those thinking of starting new businesses in the area.

Today’s association emerged around five years ago, from a long line of similar groups which originated in a chamber of trade.

Although Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association is relatively young, its members are currently looking at updating the work it does, to ensure it remains fresh and relevant for its members.

The Welcome to Richmond group and the Information Centre work under the umbrella of the association, while operating separately.

Chair Marcia McLuckie said: “Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association's members have helped to drive up the town’s profile, through various initiatives. A half-hour programme on BBC2’s Britain in Bloom featured the Association’s Original Richmond in Bloom successes and national attention again came to the town when Richmond was selected as a finalist in the Great British High Street Awards.

“Following on from the association’s lead in celebrating Richmond Castle’s 950th anniversary last year, the 950 Community Archaeology Project that was filmed in Richmond Castle with Dr Alice Roberts was shown on BBC television’s Digging for Britain in January this year.

“Although the Covid-19 pandemic affected many businesses, members were now re-establishing themselves and looking towards future initiatives.

“That includes a shop-local promotion planned for late autumn, with shoppers collecting stamps from local businesses to be entered into a prize draw. That may be followed by a longer-lasting campaign to further encourage more support for local businesses.

“We used ‘original’ in the name to emphasise that this is the original Richmond, not Surrey or any of the other Richmonds that were named after our town.

“We made a positive, successful attempt to increase membership and have tried to do things which will raise the profile of the town.

“Members work together and share problems. The association has been running like this for five years, so we are reviewing our strategy to keep if fresh and pertinent.”

Find more information about Original Richmond Business and Tourism Association.