Amazing independents sign up to back Lowestoft Bouncing Back campaign
- Credit: Mick Howes
They are at the heart of the high street, helping to make towns "special and unique."
Across Lowestoft, there are numerous hidden independent gems - stores, cafés and specialist shops offering unique products or undiscovered brands, all with hands on customer service.
With The Journal and East Suffolk Council teaming up for our Bouncing Back campaign, as we continue to urge people to return to the town centre and shop locally, the spotlight this week is shining on giving independent traders the help they need.
Pocket guides to Lowestoft - showcasing maps, walks and information aplenty - have been produced by the council and are being distributed as part of the campaign.
With numerous independents across the town, Hugh Davies, owner of Books and Prints on Lowestoft High Street, and Lorraine Le Grice, owner of Uncle Sids Zero waste store, are supporting the Bouncing Back campaign.
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Lorraine Le Grice said: "The independent shops and businesses are what makes our town special and unique."
Similar sentiments have been shared by shop owners and businesses across town.
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Matt Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios Lowestoft, on London Road North, said: "I am most definitely all for supporting The Journal's campaign to get people shopping local.
"A little bit of support by shopping local can make a huge difference!
"If we are going to build a future for our children once they leave school then we need to plan for it now.
"Yes, shopping online maybe quicker and sometimes cheaper but there are so many positives to taking a trip to the high street and town centre.
"Nothing beats getting out, speaking to people and obtaining hands on customer service, getting your questions answered and the buying advice needed."
Mr Goddard, who founded the business in 2005, added: "Shoppers need to see beyond just the product they’re buying and think about the staff involved with the business and how by making that purchase you are keeping their job secure or maybe even creating new jobs.
"The money you are spending will then stay within our local economy as this employee will in turn spend their wages within other local businesses."
Lennie's Plants offers houseplants, pots, accessories, planters and much more.
The plant nursery on the High Street in Lowestoft has been in its current premises since August last year, having previously been on Norwich Road.
"Come December we will have been trading for three years," owner Mandy Peterson said.
"The local independent shops offer a great service as well as a product.
"We are friendly, people come in the shop to chat about the plants and that personal service - along with the knowledge behind it - is something you don't get from buying online."
Lennie's also runs evening classes with workshops running every week. Currently the Macrame Workshops - offering people the chance to create your very own plant hanger - have proved popular.
Toy Joy Oasis, situated at the top end of London Road North in Lowestoft town centre, is an independent family-run business that had only been open for four days last year when businesses across the country were forced to close in March during the first lockdown.
The local toy shop sells new, pre-owned and vintage collectable toys, featuring a large selection of new toys and a wide range of upcycled toys.
Sharon Cleary, owner of Toy Joy Oasis, said: "It is a big thing to get more people down to this end of the town centre, as still lots of people don't know we are here.
"They need to put something more up here to attract people as there are a lot more shops and cafés than you realise.
"I am hoping that when the upcoming fish trail launches and the transport show takes place outside here on August 7 that it will be busier.
"The main thing is to support local businesses, the small independent businesses offering that personal service."
The popular Annatar gift shop on London Road North specialises in selling everything from Yankee Candles to incense and jewellery.
Matt Wade has co-owned the business with his wife Jenny for seven years, while the shop has been running for 25 years after being established in 1996.
Mr Wade said: “People need to take advantage of the high street.
"You see all this negativity about the empty shopfronts and stores closing, but instead of moaning people need to realise that if you don't use the high street they will lose it.
"We have independent businesses and specialist shops here in Lowestoft providing a personal service and knowledge you don't get online.
"So come back to town and find out more!"
Pocket Guides are available in a number of retailers that cover north, south and central Lowestoft.
Pick up yours today from WH Smith in Lowestoft; Dixon’s News on Ashburnham Way Carlton Colville; Pk Harrod on Hall Road, Oulton Broad; One stop in Westwood Avenue, Lowestoft; Rawmores on Weston Road, Lowestoft; Co op Kessingland in Field Lane; Morrison’s in Pakefield; Asda in Lowestoft; Tesco in north Lowestoft; Home Bargains in Lowestoft and Lidl Lowestoft.