Federation of Small Business Members, Ann Swain, Geoff Williamson and Amanda Davey, accompanied by Cllr Peter Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, visited several independent retailers in the High Street area to show support for Small Business Saturday.
They started at the Lovebean Café in The Pavement owned and run by Ivona Mihacova who has worked hard to make this a going concern with a menu including home-made cakes and is a venue for a number of regular clients. Ivona said that business had been rather up and down this year but was better than when she started 6 years ago.
The group then crossed to P & J Sweets Delight run by Mr & Mrs Ashby. Mrs Ashby said it had been a constant struggle over the three and half years they had been open. They were a specialist sweet shop whose stock included vegan, gluten free, diabetic, halal etc. They were looking to diversify and sell New Forest Ice Cream next year.
At Bodyworks Day Spa we spoke to the Manager Allison Miles who designed the Forum logo. The main therapist and Owner is Louise who is actively engaged with the Historic High Street Form as they feel it will be instrumental in encouraging people to visit the High Street. Bodyworks is a family run day Spa .The spa has built its reputation on word of mouth recommendation and at this time of year they are very busy with gift voucher sales and treatments .
Sage Vegan Restaurant in the High Street is family owned and has been open for 6 months. Hamza Ayyildiz told us how delighted they had been with how popular Sage had become among both vegans and non-vegans. They were looking forward to further growth of Sage and welcomed the Come to the High Street Initiative.
Lloyd Culley at Lloyds Barbers in the High Street had grown up in Crawley and took the opportunity of taking the shop nearly 6 years ago. He told us that business was as good as ever, if not better, thanks to the Come to the High Street initiative as it was bringing new people. Next year a convenience store was opening next door and more shops had already opened. The High Street was now becoming a place to go and they had customers coming from Horsham and Haywards Heath through making the experience as good as possible. He also had clients from Devon and London who came to have their hair cut when visiting their families. Little shops made sure that all their staff were good with customers and gave more of a personal touch.