"I do see a future in our high street": How is life as a business-owner in Lowestoft today?
PUBLISHED: 12:19 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:23 23 November 2018
Archant © 2018
Ahead of the festive season, businesses are gearing up for what should be the busiest period of the year.
But a handful of stores have expressed concerns about slow footfall in the town centre and some claim this has caused their business to lag.
According to the owners of Salvina’s Traditional English Sweets, Glenn Cracknell, 52, and Lawrence Stafrace, 51, both from Lowestoft, “the footfall is awful” and owning the tradition sweets shop is “very, very hard”.
Despite the pair claiming to tick all boxes in terms of customer service, the business have had their slowest year yet.
Mr Cracknell said: ”We work so hard to try and get people in here, we have old-fashioned sweets, drinks and ice cream, everything is here.
“But the parking up here is atrocious - no one wants to come here,” he added, “Anyone who says business is good up here, they are lying.”
Earlier this year, the BBC reported more than 7,000 jobs had been lost through administrations and shop closures, with 9,500 more to come with planned shop closures.
Despite the odd boarded up store on the high street, long-standing businesses claim core values of customer service are keeping their business afloat.
Daniel Poitras of Lowestoft vision, said the personal touch was what made the high street special.
Mr Poitras said: “The main thing I have seen [that helps] is customer service. The businesses that provide great customer service see an improvement in business.
“It all boils down to finding the right products - right now we are still going through the transition from the inexpensive to the expensive and there are a lot of niche businesses,” he said.
On the lack of footfall, Mr Poitras said: “We are looking at making it a destination - there are 13 or 14 different projects on the go in that area.”
Philip Allen, 63, of Norwich, owns Raphael craft, which is located near the Triangle Market on the High Street.
After three decades in business, Mr Allen said: “The whole street is on a up - I do believe this will become cosmopolitan with the unique collection of shops.
“I do see a future in our high street, I am pleased to be here.”