The Plaza’s 5th Screen

The Plaza Cinema in Truro is a unique asset to our great little city.  This year the Plaza are celebrating their 80th anniversary and to mark this special birthday they have launched the 5th screen called ‘The Lemon Suite’.  The management welcomed the guests and the new screen was warmly received.

The 5th screen was constructed in just 29.5 working days and the project originally started in 1996.  The screen is fitted with a Barco DP2K-6E projector, Datasat AP-20 cinema processor handling sound and automation.  Dolby 5.1 Dirac theatre optimisation surround sound.  DVD & bluray playback including DTS surround sound.

Blend 71 provided the delicious canapés and we were welcomed with drinks from the fresh and well lit bar.  The seats were comfortable and the air conditioning perfect to enjoy our experience of the new screen.  Brett Harvey had compiled a clip for The Plaza and this was great to see the history and the images.  We then saw the latest previews (Bridgette Jones’s Baby, Finding Dory and  Jason Bourne) and I felt compelled that I needed to come back soon and watch a full movie.  Going to the cinema is a great way of relaxing and escaping to immerse yourself into the world of cinema.

Rob Nolan, Truro Mayor had the honour of launching the 5th screen.  He enjoyed the occasion thoroughly!

The Lemon Suite also caters for small conferences and can accommodate 55 seats.  If you would like to book this venue for a special occasion or for a conference, then please email the Plaza, Truro at

The Changing Face of Retailing in Truro

My first real experience in the retail trade was as a ‘Saturday boy’ in Debenhams of Northampton in 1977. I worked on the menswear department selling jeans – there were two sometimes three of us looking after one free-standing rail, about twelve feet of wall space holding nothing but different brands and styles of jeans and a single dressing room. Today you can buy jeans for under a tenner – less than the price I was selling them for almost forty years ago. Today you can go into large retail stores in Truro and find less staff in the store than were manning that small jeans department.

Victoria Square Bunting

What does this mean, what are the implications for retailers, how on earth can they make a profit these days? Aside from the obvious implications for the people who make the jeans and the costs and impacts of transporting them, the profit margin per item is tiny, meaning that they have to sell more units and squeeze every penny of their costs.

This doesn’t just apply to jeans of course but to all areas of retailing and, for me, the ‘demand’ for lower prices has been the single biggest change for retailers not just in Truro but everywhere – far greater than the ‘threat of online shopping’.

Truro has always been at the centre for retail in Cornwall – from its days as a stannary town, through to the days of independent department stores with the likes of Roberts and Malletts Home Hardware et al and to the current days which sees a strong mix of both independent and multiple chain stores.

We have low retail vacancy rates in Truro but also a high turnover of shops – this demonstrates both a high demand for retail space in the city but also a high level of failed businesses, which goes back to my jeans story – the streets of Truro are not paved with gold; the rents, rates and transport costs are high and there is plenty of competition. Truro is circled by any number of retail-led out-of-town development schemes which rattles the investment market – why open a new shop in the city centre with its costs, access and often restrictions on available space and complex buildings when you can open in an off-the-shelf unit on an ‘any-town’ retail development on one of the main approach roads? I’ll tell you why – because for me there is a magic formula for retail. It’s not easy but it means that you must get all aspects of product, service and environment right. Layer on top your communications strategy – this is where online comes in by offering superb ways of communicating with your customers – and you are set to achieve the differentiator, the essence that sets Truro apart from other towns or the soulless transactional worlds of Amazon or e-bay  – it is the retail experience you can enjoy in Truro.

Last week saw the opening of a Waitrose supermarket on the outskirts of Truro. As far as supermarkets go, it’s a good one. But for every penny spent there, it’s a penny lost from elsewhere – nobody is eating more food as a result of their opening, and it’s in the wrong place too. Back to the Truro experience though – we have a thriving Co-op in the heart of Truro. We have great fresh produce available from the likes of The Cornish Food Box, Thornes, Archie Browns and the Pannier and Truro Farmers Market – all delivered with a smile, a bit of banter and a known face. One of the real risks posed by supermarkets though is in their non-food offer – just look at how heavily Waitrose are promoting their John Lewis ‘click and collect’ service as part of their opening marketing campaign. This is a real threat and one that many of Truro’s businesses are already wise to as they integrate their online with their more traditional off-line business (have a look at The Uneeka website for a great example).

New Primark Store

With Primark due to open in Truro this autumn, what will that do for the city’s retail offer? In the first instance, I can think of no other brand that will attract more new customers into Truro than Primark. But the impact that this store will have on existing retailers, on the transport and parking infrastructures of Truro remains to be seen. Also, the sales volumes needed to generate sufficient revenues (back to the jeans again) will see a fleet of delivery vehicles servicing the store.

So to the future of retailing in Truro – what will it hold? No one really knows for sure but certainly the successful traders will be those that deliver excellence in the areas of product, service and environment and who fully embrace the online opportunities to communicate (not just to sell) with their customers. We may see further famous names following in the footsteps of Woolworths, BHS and Austin Reed and leaving holes in the high street but hopefully the holes that they leave will be seen as more attractive than out-of-town sites. I can foresee the growth in niche nationals building on Truro’s legacy of hosting such names as Apple (Stormfront), The White Company, L’occitane and Steamer Cookware and, in parallel, the growth in niche independents building on such names as Inhabit, Illustrated Living, Magpie & Fox and Uneeka. Then, in the hybrid area, I can see more ‘nationals acting like locals’ – Waterstone’s being the perfect current example – a national brand that acts like your local favourite bookshop.

Provided that collectively, Truro keeps itself clean, safe and welcoming and offers quality, choice and great value with the odd surprise then it’s retail future looks far stronger than most.

NEILL SCOTT, Truro BID Manager

Roarrrrrr – Dinosaur Zoo came to Truro!

The Hall for Cornwall offers visitors an opportunity to come into Truro and enjoy a fabulous performance.  I took my five year old to see the dinosaurs that ‘live’ at the Hall for Cornwall…….  We also made sure we had a quick ice cream from Angelato on Pydar street too!

What a delight to inspire youngsters to be passionate and interested in dinosaurs and perhaps become a Paleontologist!  Or encourage a child to find out something new and try exploring a past era.

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We saw a baby Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Diplodocus, several huge dragonflies called Meganeuropsis permiana, an Australovenator  (a recent discovery in Australia) and a few others that I cannot remember their names!  Dinosaur Zoo brought these awesome prehistoric creatures to the stage and allowed the children to engage and interact with the Zoo Dinosaur keeper!

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The children really did marvel and interact with these extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this imaginative live show.  The stage was set with some dinosaur plants that looked like gigantic asparagus.  Some of the hungry reptiles did seem quite hungry and there were some very brave children indeed!

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Children watched wide-eyed from a safe distance and some did get right up close to the creatures in the danger zone.  The sound effects and the mastery of the puppeteers, as well as how real they look – is a true credit to the show.  Afterwards, the dinosaurs were brought outside onto Lemon Quay, where the children got to see them.




Get Active Truro – warm up!

On Wednesday the 1st of  June during the half term week we headed into Truro.  Get Active Truro held a short two day event – a burst of activity in Truro for you to discover something active and fun.

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Get Active Truro is part of the wider initiative – Get Active Cornwall, organised through Cornwall Sports Partnership and supported by Totally Truro, the Truro Business Improvement District.  The event linked into the national campaign ‘This Girl Can‘ developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations. A celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.  Its aimed at us all and encourages us to do fitness and the benefits we feel from it.  Get Active Truro is for everyone.

Whirlwind Sports did a great campaign offering 20% off during the two day event.  It was great to see them on board getting behind the #thisgirlcancampaign.  Whirlwind Sport have the latest clothing, shoes and equipment to choose from.

There were a host of different organisations and businesses giving out advice, demos and having fun, including : West Coast Clear, Belly Bolly Dance, Golf England, 4funxsake Youth Dance, Children’s Hospice, Cornwall Outdoors, Why Dance, Footsteps of Discovery, Truro Canoe Club, Cornwall BMX, Cornwall Womens and Girls Rugby, National Trust, Anytime Fitness, Koncept Gym, Stringers Gym, Intelligent Fitness, Bodeeworx, Heart FM, Tempus, Race for Life and Cornwall Yoga Centre.

My children particularly enjoyed the Footsteps of Discovery team who taught them how to make a fire.  These survival skills give us a sense of confidence, respect of nature, discipline and enjoyment.  We hope to visit them  in Grampound Road woods soon.

My eldest loved the music and dance fitness routines with pom poms!  It was great to see the quay buzzing, alongside the Truro Farmers Market.  People were shooting some hoops and trying out the inflatable kayaks.  Koncept Gym was there from Newquay and did you know that during the week day they offer free childcare for an hour while you do your workout at the gym or do a class.

After our visit on Lemon Quay and play with some of the hula hoops and weights, we had the essential merry go round ride, followed by lunch at Sonder Cafe Bar.  Mocktails all round, bunny chow with an assortment of ‘lite bites’ for the girls.

The next Get Active Truro is from the 15-19th August.  This will be the 6th year on Lemon Quay with plenty of FREE activities on offer!   ‘Get Active Truro’ promises something for everyone and you don’t need to be super sporty to join in; it is about getting active but also having fun… and all the events are free! Make sure to use the hashtag #getactivetruro

Dementia Awareness Week – Truro

Did you know that about 1,000 people live with dementia in Truro and around 5,000 people in Truro are affected by dementia every day?

To raise awareness about Dementia, the steering group of Dementia Friendly Truro, received some training from Truro College and we all became a Dementia Friend.   We were fortunate to have the delightful Anne-Marie come into Truro HQ on Fairmantle Street and spend time with us!

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Dementia Friendly Truro aims to ensure that Truro is accessible, inclusive, welcoming, aware of and responsive to people living with dementia and their carers.  The group aims to establish links with businesses, service providers and people living with dementia in order to develop greater awareness and understanding of dementia issues in our community.  Together we want to make Truro a Dementia Friendly City.  This is one of the Business Improvement Development objectives, to make Truro accessible and appreciate our demographics in our great little City.

5 Key Messages from the training: –

  • Dementia is not a natural part of aging
  • There’s more to the person than the dementia
  • It is possible to live well with dementia
  • Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
  • Dementia is not just about losing your memory

The Alzheimer’s Society’s has rolled out the Dementia Friends programme and it is their largest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia.   A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action, it’s about the small ways you can help.  At the end of the session we agreed to do become a Dementia Friend.

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Clare Hall-Davies (L), Sian Knights, Neil Scott, Mark O’Brian

I plan to wear the badge and hopefully have the opportunity to tell businesses about the Dementia Friends initiative.  So when I deliver the quarterly newsletters and the guides around our city, I will try to encourage businesses and organisations to join our Alliance and to take action to improve and increase awareness of dementia.

I found the training interesting in appreciating the layout and ambiance of a business and how this can impact on those with dementia.  For example if a customer, who has dementia comes into the restaurant it is about the service they receive; such as the waiter/waitress being patient, giving eye contact and listening.  Perhaps turn the music down or off so that the customer can concentrate.  Try and make the options clear and not too many choices.  If the customer who suffers from dementia has a good experience, they will leave with a good feeling, even though the next day they may not have remembered what they had eaten.  Dementia can affect vision and space perception, so therefore a black mat can be perceived as a black hole and a rippled swirl in the carpet could look like snakes or water.

At the moment my Forget-me-not flower symbol is in the washing machine tube and I have yet to retrieve it!  However I will find another one shortly and will wear it when I deliver the June quarterly newsletter. #DAW2016

If you would like your business to receive training and become a Dementia Friend, Anne-Marie Young is the Curriculum Lead Social Care & Health at Cornwall College and can be contacted. (See details below). It is for free and great to get your employees to know a little bit more.  There are Social Care & Health Courses which have funding at the moment, such as Dementia Care Level II or Autism, Care Planning and Team Leading (see below).





#shoparttrail – Collaboration with Truro Businesses and the Truro Festival

Last month we had some tremendous support from the Truro businesses who hosted a group of artists’ work in prominent locations of their shop windows.  You can maybe appreciate how precious your shop window is.  It is about what you sell, who you are and entices those from the outside to look in and perhaps go inside and make a purchase.

The Truro Festival organised the #shopArtTrail which allowed visitors to explore Truro further and discover eleven artists’ work displayed in the city.  A great way to be in the fresh air, follow the map and to learn something new.  Visitors picked up the trail checklist from the festival marquee on Lemon Quay and went on their way to enjoy art and to explore Truro deeper.

At the top of Pydar Street the artist Laura Wray was able to display several pieces of art, complimenting the art gallery café of InnerTide on Pydar Street perfectly with its nooks and reclaimed shelves.


Pennyworths displayed Felicity Tattersall’s amazing Samuel Footes tea party scene.  Felicity took time to write a piece on Mr. Samuel Foote, who was the theme of the Truro Festival and decorated the delightful window display on High Cross.  I do believe the sweets were a slight distraction for her and she enjoyed the colours of the shop with glee!  This is a great example where the shop and the art worked together to create a display.

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Pennyworths Coffee House with Samuel Foote

(You may be wondering who Samuel Foote is, well  for the next three-years the Truro Festival will focus on a forgotten Truronian from the 18th century. In his day, Samuel Foote was the first stand-up comedian and known as the funniest man in London. He was a Cornishman with a larger-than-life personality, who wowed audiences at his tea parties in the fashionable coffee houses of Covent Garden.)



Samuel Foote

Midtown Deli & Cafe on King’s Street, was host to Leonardo Santolamazza’s work.  Leonardo has worked with Totally Truro the Business Improvement District on many previous projects, including BIG ART.  The Italian born artist is passionate about his work and his style is distinctive.

Malletts Home Hardware situated on Victoria Square, hosted Beano cartoonist, Nick Brennan.  Nick is a cartoonist and illustrator and is a great inspiration.  During the festival he hosted a cartoon workshop, which the children really enjoyed.

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Magpie & Fox held two vibrant pieces of art in their window from Tom Sutcliffe and Mat McIvor.  The art suited the fashion boutique on River Street to the ‘T’.

Truro Fabrics hosted Sam Bradbury’s newly created puppets.  Manager of Truro Fabrics commented that they noticed people looking into the widow and checking it on their maps.  Sam’s work was most at home at Truro Fabrics and again was well suited to this creative business on Calenick Street.

Archie Browns had an amazing window display with the silhouette of Truro Cathedral, the city penned in Silver and the Truro Festival Guides clearly celebrating the arrival of the Truro Festival .  Emeilia Wharfe is a freelance, illustrator and writer who displayed interesting and delicate pieces of work hung in Archie Brown’s window.  Emeilia aslo created the enlightening Truro Festival display and information board about Samuel Foote.  This specially commissioned installation is to reintroduce the extraordinary life of Foote to Truro and many of the festivals events are aimed at celebrating and educating audiences about the first ever stand up comedian!

Vertigo is a fun, vibrant bar and restaurant.  One of the best places for a night out in Truro.  It has funky lines and patterns as its décor and Charlotte Davis displayed one of her drawings within their window.  Charlotte loves lines and precision and this piece of art hung in their window with ease.

Sam’s in the City held sketches from Rowena Siorvanes.  The work, created specifically to be shown at Sam’s was beautifully hung and displayed in this smart and stylish eatery in the entrance.  So whilst waiting to be seated, the arts location within the restaurant, allowed customers to view and enjoy the work.  Rowena’s art of simple pen and ink, displayed people enjoyed eating seafood and Sam’s in the City sell’s similar types of dishes.  Rowena is inspired by people in everyday life that she observes – all their characteristics with simple line drawing.

Finally talented artist, Keith Sparrow displayed his work in Waterstones, Boscawen Street with some manga style creativity!  In fact, he took this to a new level by creating artwork live in the window.  This similar concept was taken by Uneeka Life, just a few doors down, who had artists working in their window each day, pop up – during the festival. It is these collaborations that we like to celebrate!


Keith Sparrow manga workshop on Lemon Quay

Uneeka’s window on Boscawen Street is their pride and joy – the store relishes in being creative with their window and it was wonderful to have them on board with the Truro Festival.

Visit Truro decorated their window beautifully during the festival.  Thank you to all those businesses who participated and joined in the #trurofestival in any way they could.  Visitors were able to spot eleven artists’ work in the shop windows around Truro with ease.


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Ian Kelly

Following on from the Truro Festival, there is an evening with actor and director Ian Kelly fresh from the West End production of the hit play ‘Mr Foote’s Other Leg‘. Ian will give a talk about his research into the life of the enigmatic Truro-born Samuel Foote.7.30pm on Thursday 26 May in the Lander Gallery CafeTickets are £10.00 and available from