Loungers restaurant, iCandy gifts and Hughes Plus electrical store to open at top of St John’s Street/Cornhill
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A key location in Bury St Edmunds town centre is set to be boosted by new businesses in time for Christmas, including a new restaurant that will be a first for Suffolk.
The Loungers restaurant, cafe and bar group is investing £600,000 in transforming the former Officers Club unit at the top of St John’s Street into its first Suffolk outlet, with the opening planned for December 16.
With Hughes Plus electrical store opening in the old Mothercare unit next month and an iCandy gift shop due to relocate to the former YMCA charity shop this week, the gateway to independent shopping street, St John’s Street, is set to be completely regenerated.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Ourburystedmunds Business Improvement District group, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the three large units in the Cornhill and at the top of St John’s Street are all looking to be occupied before Christmas.
“This will be a real boost for that part of town and should increase the footfall both there and to the nearby streets.”
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He explained that a ‘town team’ was created in early 2013 as a result of concerns about overall vacancy rates, but particularly the old Officers Club.
“I’m really pleased that long-term vacant unit in such a prominent position will now have a vibrant new business that’s chosen to open it’s first restaurant in Suffolk in Bury St Edmunds.”
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Loungers’ new branch, which will be over two floors, will create 25 jobs and be called Edmundo Lounge, “a retro home from home, where dramatic art work will sit next to oversized vintage sofas and statement light fittings,” the firm said.
Craig Williams, operations manager at Loungers, said: “Bury St Edmunds is the perfect location for our Lounge concept.
“There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part in the foodie scene here.”
Andrew Yallop, manger of the town’s Hughes branch, which is moving to the top of St John’s Street from the Buttermarket, said the new store would be open for ‘black Friday’, which this year is on November 27.
He said: “I’m really excited about it. I’m looking forward to it. There will be opening offers.”
Jan Bainbridge, manager of the Bury iCandy store, said their new branch would be bigger with larger stockroom facilities than the one at the Arc shopping centre.
“They are starting to regenerate the town. We are moving at the right time,” she said.
The demand for retail investment property in Bury is highlighted by the recent sale of five retail units and six self-contained one-bedroom flats in St John’s Street, Barker Storey Matthews, which handled the sale, has said.
The retail facilities are fully let with current tenants including Age Concern Suffolk, The Bury Chocolate Shop, Dance and Party Crazy, Mark Ewin Estate Agents and Lou La Bells Boutique.
Simon Burton, director at Barker Storey Matthews, said: “The sale of this property demonstrates the continued demand for retail investment property in Bury St Edmunds, and the popularity of this type of asset in strong market towns in general.”
Elsewhere in the town, there are two new clothes shops in the Traverse - where footfall has suffered as a result of the Cupola House fire - and a high-end retailer is said to be opening a branch in Abbeygate Street.
Dapper Fox menswear has already opened in the Traverse and a unit there is being transformed into Nanook, a ladies’ fashion boutique.