LOCAL retailers are urging customers to put a popular Gourock street at the top of their shopping list.

Kempock Street has been shortlisted in this year's Great British High Street Awards.

People are being urged to vote for the popular street which has a string of independent stores, cafes and bars, to win the 'rising star' gong and up to £15,000 for a local project.

Councillor Lynne Quinn, vice-chair of Gourock Regeneration Forum, and the council's regeneration boss Scott Allan worked together on the application.

Councillor Quinn said: "We all know that Gourock is fantastic and now we have the opportunity to get that message out to a wider audience.

"We want to raise awareness to get as many votes as possible."

Businesses owners gathered to share the secrets of Kempock Street's success.

Heather McCulloch, of the Pirate and Bluebelle Gallery and Gourock Regeneration Forum, said: "I am delighted Kempock Street has been shortlisted for this award.

"Locals have known for a long time how special the street is with its vast array of fantastic and diverse independent businesses, great places to eat and some of the best views in the world.

"We hope that if we win this award it will highlight Gourock and encourage more visitors to discover our town and everything it has to offer."

Karen Gunn, proprietor of Reds Boutique, who has been trading in the street for eleven years, said: "Everyone in the street works really hard, refreshing their windows and trying to bring in different stock.

"It's somewhere when you can see something that you might not see on the high street.

"All the customers think it's fantastic too and have been asking how they can vote. It's good for the town."

Trishy Gannon, of No.26, a handmade gifts shop, said: "I think Kempock Street is so popular because there are so many independent retailers that work really hard.

"You can buy things here you cannot get elsewhere. We're a one-off kind of street."

Lisa Carberry, of Original Artists, says its success is due to the combination of independent shops and the heritage of Kempock Street.

"The council redesigned the street, so it's an easy place to stop. The only negative thing is the parking.

"We are attracting visitors from Glasgow and Ayrshire, outwith Inverclyde."

Janice Kingsman, who owns ladies boutique Sister Secrets, said: "I think from all the feedback we get, people like the amount of independent boutiques. There is something here for everyone.

"You can buy all your Christmas presents in Kempock Street, it's quite unique."

Shona McTaggart runs Studio Flowers with Sharon Rodgers.

She said: "I've been in the street for 20 years. It's the variety of shops and on a daily basis you get visitors from outwith Inverclyde.

"Not many towns have so many independent shops, it's a bit of a rarity and something that should be celebrated."

Eileen Woods, of Domus Interiors, said: "We are a street of independent shops with a focus on customer service and a true community spirit.

"We are happy to continue to deliver unique products to the local community and beyond."

Community police officer Alastair McDonald says he has noticed a difference in the street over the last few years.

He said: "It's nice to see the change that has happened over the past couple of years.

"There is a real buzz about the place, new businesses opening up, it's very positive for the street."

The awards are organised by the UK Government in partnership with banking giant Visa.

A public vote will account for 20 per cent of the overall score but an expert judging panel will choose the winner.

To vote, visit https://thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk/