Julian Gjini bought his café on Abbeydale Road when there were hardly any thriving businesses in the area, and has watched the independent business community grow to the point where Tesco is almost the only chain store on the street. He’s passionate about the area and his business. “I don’t just milk it, I feed everything back in,” he says. “Other people just think ‘Great, I’ve earned that,’ and take it – but not me.”
Dan Wilkinson, Business Information Officer at Business Sheffield, has been working with Julian since the autumn of 2020. The Information Officers are a team of highly experienced business people who work with high-street businesses to make sure they have all the tools and support they need to thrive.
Julian was having a problem with cars parking on the pavement very close to his outdoor seating, posing a risk to customers. He was willing to resurface the pavement around his business to match the slate-like stone of his steps and threshold, to show that it was part of the business and deter parking. Dan supported him to explore this idea with the Council’s Highways team, and together they found that there was too high a risk that services under the pavement could be damaged, costing Julian money and wasted effort.
Instead, Dan suggested they request extra bike rails to block on-pavement parking and encourage cycling. From his knowledge of the Council, he knew this was more likely to be a workable solution, and he helped Julian collect evidence and put forward his case. He also followed up with the Council as the application progressed through the system, allowing Julian to stay focused on running his business.
Dan has also been supporting Julian to submit a retrospective planning application for the outdoor seating area he installed during COVID-19. “Lots of businesses have never been through this process before,” says Dan. “I was able to take the strain off him of having to go directly to the Council about something that was so unfamiliar. Everything in the planning process is done over the phone or on email, and if you haven’t been through it, it can be difficult to understand what’s required. I was there to go through the process with Julian face-to-face, explain thoroughly what the Planning team was asking for, and support him to put it together.”
In addition, Dan’s helped Julian to secure a reduction in business rates for the Teller Bar down the road, which he took over recently. Because he had to take the business on quickly, the fact that he could apply for a 66% reduction in business rates had fallen through the cracks. When his bill arrived, Dan spotted that he could get a discount and supported him to apply. “He’s been a very helpful guy, to be honest,” says Julian, “Any time I’ve had a problem or issue, he’s always around.”
Dan’s available to support businesses in London Road, Ecclesall Road. Sharrowvale, Darnall, Page Hall, Heeley, Stannington, Nether Edge, Greenhill, Woodseats, Heeley Green, Abbeydale Road and Millhouses. To contact him, call 07597 621859 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If your business is somewhere different, contact Business Sheffield to find the right person to support you. Email BusinessSheffield@sheffield.gov.uk or call 0114 224 5000
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