Grant Brings New Retailers to Market Town
06/12/2011Business booming in Barnard Castle
The national economy may be struggling but business is booming in one County Durham market town.
New retailers in Barnard Castle are opening, others are expanding and the number of empty premises on the high street has fallen from a rate of 19 per cent two years ago to just less than 6 per cent this year, with a further reduction expected.
Barnard Castle Vision, which is supporting the retail trade through its partnership with the Barney Guild of retailers and the provision of the Shop Front Grants scheme, has invested around £160,000 in the town’s retail heart over the last two years.
This includes money spent on repairs, conservation and work to bring empty premises back into use. The work has also been supported by the South Durham Enterprise Agency, which has given business support and planning advice to companies.
The investment has contributed towards the creation of 11 new high street businesses and more than 20 new jobs in the town. Two of the retailers – The Zhoo and Spitfire – have recently moved to new larger premises in order to expand their businesses.
Coun Neil Foster, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Durham County Council, said: “At a time when the economy is going through a difficult time and when traders are facing tough conditions it is heartening to see retailers in Barnard Castle going from strength to strength.
“Supporting our local, independent businesses is vital if high streets and town centres are to survive in this economic climate.
“I’m delighted that the investment by Barnard Castle Vision is having a positive impact and is enabling local entrepreneurs to make their business dreams a reality.”
Two of the most recent businesses to open up in Barnard Castle, partly thanks to support from Barnard Castle Vision, are The Vault – a designer menswear shop – and Niche Living – an interior design shop.Continues…
Alyson Savage, owner of Niche Living, which opened on Galgate in September, said: “After a long search for the ideal location I was so pleased to find this opportunity in Barnard Castle.
“It has a vibrant retail heart with a unique mix of shops, which attracts shoppers from a wide area – it’s the perfect choice.”
Nokkaew Harrington and Sophie Rodriguez, owners of La Moda hair salon, recently celebrated the first anniversary since opening their business on Horsemarket.
Nokkaew said: “In the short time since we opened, we’ve been nominated for an award in recognition of our outstanding customer service as well as an award for best new business. We’re already hoping to expand the business by opening another salon in the future.
“Business has gone really well and we’ve been very pleased with the support we’ve had.”
Deborah Jenkins, chair of Barnard Castle Vision, said: “We believe the Shop Front Grants scheme has been a huge success in bringing empty premises back into use and the number of businesses which are now thriving in the town is a testament to this.
“It is also a huge credit to the local businessmen and women who have established their businesses in Barnard Castle and have shown the drive and determination to succeed.
“With a track record like this it’s easy to see how Teesdale was recently named the most entrepreneurial place in the North East.”