Businesses show 'vote of confidence' in Bury St Edmunds as empty units fill up

Efe Develi has moved from London and is opening a new coffee shop, Midgar, in Bury St Edmunds. Pict

Midgar coffee shop, run by Efe Develi (pictured), is just one of the new businesses opening in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Empty units in Bury St Edmunds are filling up as the town prepares to bounce back - and its historic high street will soon be fully let.

The market town has suffered closures like many others during a challenging 12 months brought on by coronavirus, but new businesses are also taking the plunge and opening up.

Nearly all of Bury's new businesses are independents, including Lipstick & Locks salon in Abbeygate Street and a traditional cheesemongers in Hatter Street.

Mark Cordell, CEO at ourburystedmunds BID. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mark Cordell, CEO at Our Bury St Edmunds BID, said the new businesses opening in the town was a "tremendous vote of confidence" - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

All non-essential retail is set to reopen from April 12, and restaurants, cafes and pubs will be allowed to serve customers outdoors from the same date.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bury Business Improvement District (BID) Our Bury St Edmunds, said he was "absolutely delighted" that by the end of April all the vacant units in Abbeygate Street would be occupied and other empty shops across the town are also filling with new tenants.

He said: "This is a tremendous vote of confidence for our town centre as many of these are new businesses testing the products in our town."

"The current vacancy rate for the town centre is just under 10% but clearly by mid May, when hospitality businesses can fully reopen, this figure will be considerably lower.


You may also want to watch:


"It’s been a very difficult past 12 months but all this positive changes are very exciting for our town centre businesses and our local community."

We spoke to three businesses - a coffee shop, chocolate company and art gallery - about why they have chosen to open in Bury.

Most Read

Midgar coffee shop

Efe Develi has moved from London to open Midgar coffee shop in St John's Street.

He had initially been looking at Cambridge, but was attracted to Bury because it was more affordable and still had a city feel.

Efe Develi has moved from London and is opening a new coffee shop, Midgar, in Bury St Edmunds. Pict

Efe Develi has moved from London and is opening a new coffee shop, Midgar, in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He added: "It's the best of both worlds. And St John's Street has got such a nice character. It's full of independent shops."

Mr Develi had been running an artisan café in Hackney with his brother before the move and will be bringing elements of that to Midgar; a vintage feel, nice atmosphere and single origin coffee.

He had been working as a conveyancing searcher before switching to work in hospitality.

He said: "I love coffee so much and talking to people. I wanted to do something I enjoy. It's not the financial side so much."

Midgar - which takes its name from a world in a Final Fantasy game - is due to open mid April for takeaway and will initially employ three staff.

Midgar is moving into the former Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing boutique

Midgar is moving into the former Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing boutique - Credit: Eddisons

It is in the former Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing boutique, which is a grade-II listed building.

Visit the Facebook page

Marimba chocolate shop

Opening a shop in Bury has always been an ambition of family-run chocolatiers Marimba.

They have had a specialist chocolate café in Sudbury for 14 years and now make chocolate in Bury, on Northern Way.

Marimba's Sudbury team. They opened their chocolate café in Sudbury in 2007 

Marimba's Sudbury team. They opened their chocolate café in Sudbury in 2007 - Credit: Marimba

Marimba will open its new chocolate shop with takeaway hot chocolates at the former Artico jewellers in the Buttermarket around April 24, generating five jobs there.

Brad Wright, who was involved in launching Marimba with his parents David and Jackie, said they had been "in love" with Bury for such a long time and were just waiting patiently for the right unit to come available.

"It's very difficult to find shops in Bury St Edmunds. They don't come up very often - certainly ones that lend themselves to what we want to do," he said.

beans from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador,

Brad Wright, of Marimba chocolatiers, which is opening a shop in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Marimba

Marimba has also had a slot at the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre for many years, which Mr Wright said "cemented in our minds" bringing a shop to the town.

He added: "I think we are going to have a really good summer. I think people have been stuck at home for a long time and everybody has been buying things online.

"Our online shop has been really busy over lockdown."

The former Artico unit on the Buttermarket will be a Marimba shop from around April 24

The former Artico unit on the Buttermarket will be a Marimba shop from around April 24 - Credit: Marimba

Marimba makes single origin chocolate with beans from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador, and uses flakes of chocolate - rather than powder - in its drinks.

Its wholesale business serves nearly 600 cafes up and down the country with hot chocolate, as well as restaurants and hotels.

Visit the website.

Art in East Anglia gallery

A new art gallery is also coming to Bury in mid/late April.

Art in East Anglia in Langton Place is a venture by local resident Michele Bailey and her business partner Chris Witham.

It will showcase the work of artists from Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and was born out of an online community and website dedicated to homegrown talent.

Michele Bailey and Chris Witham outside the new Art in East Anglia gallery in Langton Place

Michele Bailey and Chris Witham outside the new Art in East Anglia gallery in Langton Place - Credit: Steve Bailey

Mrs Bailey said, apart from the fact they love Bury, they chose the town for their gallery as it had become a real destination.

She said: "Having won all these polls for the best place to live, I think people are moving here to live and we will get so many visitors when we can.

"We have the Abbey Gardens and the history of the town and I do still think there's a lovely community feel."

She added: "I felt it was the perfect spot for our first gallery."

The gallery - at the former Lady Amarisa prom and evening dress shop - aims to make it as easy as possible for artists to promote themselves and sell their work by offering marketing support such as copywriting and social media.

For more information visit the website




Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus