Woodbridge: Town centre traders bucking the national trend

BUSINESS is booming in an historic Suffolk market town – with traders continuing to defy the gloomy economic outlook.

Unlike many centres which are showing signs of recession and reporting a rise in the number of vacant shops, Woodbridge appears to be going from strength to strength.

The town is bucking the national trend with just two empty premises in the primary retail area and a couple more in secondary locations – a figure of less than 4%.

This compares favourably to the national picture, with average shop vacancies in town centres at 14% and some as high as 40%.

There have been a number of new shops come into Woodbridge over the last six months, while others have moved to larger premises.

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Marion Wells, town centre co-ordinator, said: “I am delighted there is so much confidence in Woodbridge as a place to run a business and that the town has such a low shop vacancy level.

“With increasing fuel prices, people are shunning out-of-town stores, and making the most of their local centres.

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“This is all good news for a bustling and thriving town like Woodbridge. We work hard to promote the town centre on behalf of the businesses and the town’s success has a lot to do with our efforts.”

Among the businesses to have relocated recently is holiday cottages agency, Suffolk Secrets, which has moved to Tidemill Way.

General manager Alex Paul said they considered Woodbridge to be a vital base from which the company can develop.

“Woodbridge is a key part of our business,” he said.

“The town is growing in popularity.

“It’s a great place in which to take a short break and it’s also an ideal location for a longer holiday when people want to explore the county further.”

Other recently opened premises include yarn shop Twist on Market Hill and the Happiness Store in Cumberland Street.

Owner Joannah Reynolds said: “We chose Woodbridge because we were looking for a bright, vibrant town that would reflect our style.

“Despite the difficult economic conditions and challenges that independent retailers face, we are hopeful that Happiness Store has found its home.”

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