In the week non-essential businesses were allowed to re-open following further relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown, Exeter City Futures invited Exeter retailers to attend our Emergency Roundtable, held on Wednesday 17 June 2020, to boldly acknowledge the changing face of the city and explore the opportunities facing their businesses in a city determined to ‘Build Back Better’.

Following a Panel discussion and virtual breakout room discussions, the attendees were asked to highlight key initiatives that they would like to see delivered in Exeter. The panel were then asked to reflect on those discussions and the key priorities as highlighted in the breakout rooms.


The panel were asked to speak about:

  • Their view of what Exeter looks like as the city both emerges from the pandemic and maintains its resilience, and how this aligns to the Net Zero Plan, Clean and Inclusive Growth ambitions, and the Build Back Better strategy
  • What that means for their business, or those they represent, now and for their operation in the future – pre-Covid view of retail, opportunities and challenges available now, innovations to embrace
  • Calls for action – what they need from residents, businesses, retail organisations, business support, communities, councils, educational institutions in the city of Exeter to ensure retail can continue to contribute to a thriving city


Panel Members included:

  • Simon Jupp, Conservative MP for East Devon
  • Cllr Philip Bialyk, Leader, Exeter City Council
  • Kalkidan Legesse – Creative Director, Sancho’s
  • Seb Blevings, Branch Manager, John Lewis Exeter
  • Yvan Williams, Director, Exeter Chamber of Commerce & Owner, The Oddfellows
  • Dan Taylor, Grocer on the Green
  • Andrew Hardwick, former Regional Stores Director, Tesco (Westcountry)
  • Michelle Menezes, Centre Manager, Princesshay Shopping Centre
  • Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services, Devon County Council (Cabinet Liaison for Exeter) & Exeter City Council


To download the final summary document, summarising outcomes from the online event that has been presented to local authorities, download by clicking the button below.


Download Final Report


We have also created highlight clips of the full panel discussion, feedback from the breakout rooms and the final reflections from the panel on those breakout discussions.


Watch Video Clips


Participants recommended initiatives that they would like to see Exeter adopt. We are now seeking to identify initiatives that you are interested in supporting.


Retail Initiatives Survey




What next?