These new businesses have just opened in Bury St Edmunds
- Credit: Archant
A barbers, carpet store and phone repair shop are some of the new businesses to have just opened in Bury St Edmunds - and more additions are on the cards.
Despite coronavirus, business owners are showing faith in the popular market town by setting up there, said business leader Mark Cordell, from the town’s Business Improvement District (BID).
In the last week or so Turkish barbers ‘Butter Market The Art of Men’s Grooming’ has come to the Buttermarket, as has ‘Phone Shop’, which specialises in repairs and phone and tablet accessories.
And yesterday was the first trading day for Molly Carpets, an independent business by Howard Jones next to the Arc shopping centre.
MORE: Wood-fired pizzeria chain branches out with two new restaurantsThere is also interest in a number of empty units across the town centre, including the former Anna shop in Hatter Street, which may become a cheese shop.
The former Patisserie Valerie in Abbeygate Street is set to become a Dough & Co wood-fired pizzeria, while the old ASK in Parkway is earmarked to become a Burger Amour - both by restaurateur Chris Sharman.
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Mr Cordell, chief executive of the Bury BID group, said: “Undoubtedly the past six months have been horrific for our town centre businesses but on the whole they have all responded so positively to the challenges thrown at them and the town, post lockdown, has performed really well.
“Three new businesses have just opened and I am aware of five currently empty premises being close to securing new tenants. So despite the impact of Covid-19, Bury St Edmunds continues to be seen as a great place to have a business and long may that continue!”
MORE: 2019 was bumper year for Bury St Edmunds tourism ‘but autumn/winter will be challenging’John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “This only reinforces what we said a few weeks ago alongside our latest investment in the former Post Office site, that despite challenges nationally, Bury St Edmunds town centre will continue to be a place that people want to come to, whether to shop, eat out, enjoy a coffee, for its markets or for its cultural attractions such as the Apex, Moyse’s Hall, and the former abbey.
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“I am sure anyone who loves Bury St Edmunds would agree it is a brilliant place to live and work and the fact that it is attracting business interest even in this difficult climate is a testament to the positive partnership work of the council, Our Bury St Edmunds [BID], Bury St Edmunds and Beyond and others.”
Mr Jones, from nearby village Tostock, said he had spotted a gap in the market in the town centre for a carpet shop and it was about finding the right property and rent.
He said the unit he had secured had “brilliant footfall” next to the Arc and great transport links with the bus station nearby.
The shop was supposed to open earlier in the year but, like many things, was halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And while it is a difficult time for some businesses at the moment, Mr Jones, 52, who used to manage a carpet store, said the carpet industry was “absolutely manic”.
MORE: Suffolk restaurants at risk as Pizza Express says it may close 67 sitesIzzy Yildirim, owner of The Art of Men’s Grooming, already had three barbers in the town before opening his branch in the Buttermarket.
It was due to open in March, doing so instead on Monday, September 21.
Mr Yildirim said trade so far had been “very quiet”. “People are scared to come to the barbers, but people don’t need to be scared. I cannot accept customers without a mask. I check customers temperatures when they come in.”
He also has to wear a mask and cleaning takes place before and after each customer, he said.
Mr Cordell said it was interesting that independents were coming in, but nationals were leaving.
He added: “Generally since we have reopened [after lockdown] the local community have supported the town centre and we are really appreciative of that and in the run-up to Christmas we need that to continue.”
He said the most recent information on unit vacancy rate there revealed it was 7.8%.