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Town is doing well – for now, say retailers

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

  • THRIVING LOOE: Dave Holford, of the Bosun's Locker, says the town's retail trade is bucking the gloomy national trend.

  • Thriving Looe - Dave Holford of the Bosuns locker Picture by Sean Hernon ©

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LOOE is bucking the national trend by filling empty shops almost as quickly as they close.

Trader Dave Holford, who runs the Bosun's Locker with wife Lyn, says the town is thriving with independent retailers, and there's no sign of doom and gloom on his high street.

He says almost every day there are reports about town centres failing but the death knell is not sounding in Looe.

Liskeard has enlisted the help of retail guru Mary Portas to help revive its trading fortunes after winning £100,000 of government cash under the Portas Pilot scheme.

Ms Portas has made it a priority for empty shops to be filled in Liskeard by persuading landlords to offer premises rent-free until the new businesses begin to make a profit.

Mr Holford said Looe had no such problems.

"Looe provides residents and visitors with that which others miss," he said.

"We have more than 100 shops, 50 cafés and restaurants, with new ones being added for 2013, plus every conceivable type of accommodation.

"The town is on the up and the retailers intend to remain at the helm of their businesses.

"Those traders who retire are soon replaced by those young enough not to contemplate retirement for a long while.

"It's a place where many new business-minded people come to turn over a new leaf, and start new beginnings."

He said shopping in Looe also provided good value and friendly service.

"Look carefully in the shops at the goods on offer and their prices.

"People will be pleasantly surprised at the savings and variety," he said.

Ally Parritt, who runs Purely Cornish in Looe with husband Andy, agreed with Mr Holford, but warned if Tesco's plans for a supermarket succeeded, the small independent retailers would suffer.

"We have no problem filling our shops and trading in Looe's great, but that could change if Tesco's allowed to come here," she said.

"It won't happen immediately, but I can see small businesses such as bakers, electrical shops and others struggling and when they close, I'm not sure if their shops will be able to be filled so easily."

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