The Chester blog

20 questions : Izzy Grey

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Izzy Grey is Managing Director of We Love Good Times www.wlgt.co.uk

1.How are you ? very well thank you

2.What are you working on at the moment ?

I’ve been developing WLGT to be more of a good news newspaper-style platform, to bring together and promote our local hospitality and independent retailers. We did a lot of volunteering last year and created the ONE CHESTER community group where any local business could promote themselves free of charge. So now we have a commercial side, and a community side which I’m really happy about! It feels like a really good balance.

New headlines for us will be bringing together and promoting how local businesses are implementing sustainability measures – and launching GT Club, which I’ll explain a little later on.

3.If you could time travel when/where would you go ?

I’d go forward a year, when I believe Chester will be a fully collaborative city.

4. Favourite place in the borough (specific )

The River Front – definitely my happy place.

5.What do think Chester does well at ?

I believe that Chester has never had the opportunity that it has right now. We have an incredible hospitality sector and our cultural programme gets better all the time. Plenty of great things to do in the open air and we are the number one Staycation city in the UK (source; ipaper / travel).

6.And what can we improve on ?

We have all the ingredients of being the best place to live, love, work and travel to in the UK – if we could just collaborate and seize the opportunity as One city. I feel we are fragmented – which weakens us.

7.What would you sing on karaoke night ?

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive !

8.Where would you like to Chester in 5 years’ time ?

I would like us to be an inclusive place for everyone.

Fully sustainable (if that’s possible?), a place where everyone feels safe and welcome including our homeless and vulnerable communities – to give them options, choice and a proper future, to continue to be the No.1 Staycation destination in the UK – but my personal goal is for us to be recognised as the No.1 Northern Food & Drink destination. And to be fully collaborative.

9.You love good times, but how have you coped with the dark times of the last year ?

Partly by volunteering and opening up our entire platform to everyone. It kept me super busy and it was incredibly rewarding – plus we have such an incredible camaraderie in the hospitality and retail sectors here in Chester – they made me cry with their support and kindness. I’ll never forget it. I’ve become very emotional!

10. Do we need more hotels ?

I think we need an outdoor camping and glamping village!

11. What is the GT club?

This will be our take on a modern day Charisma card. Something to further join up the local businesses and generate additional revenue for them at quieter times. An inclusive club with exclusive benefits; treats, invitations, previews – not necessarily discounts but more added-value. A win-win for local businesses and their own suppliers – and local people.

12. What are your favourite places to eat and drink in the city ?

That’s just too hard! Different places for different occasions, different moods and different seasons.

As a family – Hickory’s.

But when we’re on our own or meeting friends – then everywhere! We also have so many amazing bars with incredible cocktail bartenders. But sometimes, fish and chips with curry sauce down by the river – followed by an ice cream – is pretty amazing too.

13. How would you regenerate city centres post pandemic ?

Work with the landlords to charge sensible rents to encourage super-creative and imaginative pop-ups (like what Pach are doing for the arts in Chester).

Work with BID’s and councils to subsidise rents and rates for pop-ups by entering into a fair profit-share arrangement instead.

Work with the university to identify fashion students (etc) who could be mentored by established local retailers (as an example – can work for any sector).

Create a proper outdoor entertainment programme with street entertainers who are actually paid for delivering that programme, bringing talent from other cities, and vice versa.

Create a proper programme of inclusive events in public spaces.  

Everything brought together – and then promoted out via everyone’s different channels which they would be paid for – imagine the power and the reach of that!

14. Who would play you in the movie of your life ?

Oh lord! No one would want to!

15. Who or what inspired you in your life ?

I always wanted to be in hospitality, since as early as I can remember. I was lucky enough to follow my dream and moved to London for 10 years just to be in the industry. It was epic!

16. Which person living/dead would you take for an independent coffee or drink?

Fred Sirieix.

17. What are you most looking forward to once all Covid restrictions are lifted ?

A happy, inclusive, collaborative city.

18. Fav film of all time , and why ?

The Lost Boys – I love the idea of a seaside town harbouring such a sexy, dark gang of misfits – plus I just love vampire stories!

19. Name a famous person you have met

Christopher Lee – what a lovely chap! (played Dracula in 1958!).

20. How do you feel about the future ?

Positive. I am ambitious – but not necessarily financially. I believe that there are many people in this city who have a huge contribution to make but get overlooked. I feel that if we can crack this, the opportunities are endless.

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