Leigh trade boosted by a unique and individual company

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UNIQUE, independent businesses are helping Leigh turn the tide as the region thrives, unlike struggling shopping streets and town centers across the country.

Old Leigh, Leigh Road and The Broadway are experiencing thriving commerce, while neighboring Southend suffers from a large number of empty shops and failing businesses.

Business owners have insisted that it’s a range of unique and alternative businesses, combined with popular hairdressers, barbers and trendy clothing stores, that give Leigh the edge.

Sara Welton, 65, owner of Sara’s Tea Garden in Old Leigh, stressed the importance of residents “shopping local”.

She said: “I think it’s a very topical area. There is a lot of competition which helps keep things fresh and new. I think there’s a lot of appetite for individuals running businesses.

“We don’t have the chains and big businesses that other high streets like Southend rely on so much. I think the folks at Leigh are keen to support small businesses.

She added that the more affluent population has more income to help smaller and different businesses, but says providing excellent customer service is also crucial.

Old Leigh artists believe that unique selling points, products and landmarks attract customers and visitors in all weathers.

Julia O’Sullivan, potter at the Old Leigh Studios Gallery, said: “Like the other businesses here, we sell items you can’t find elsewhere. Our artwork, pottery and jewelry are not for sale on the internet, so we offer something most don’t.

“We are not commercial like Southend High Street, and our businesses are all individual and different. Leigh offers a different and great experience.

“I also think we have retained the vital character of the old town.”

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