This Year & Next

Cathy Frost is the owner of Loveone in St Peter’s Street, one of Ipswich’s most unique gift shops.  Cathy is also the Coordinator of The Saints Traders Group

the saints, christmas, retail, ipswich

As we approach the closing weeks of the year, it’s always a good time to take stock of the how the year has been - both for the shop and my community on the Saints.

It still continues to be a challenging time on the High Street; this year being no different to the last few, with pressures from not only the internet and out of town shops, but also the bigger economic picture, Brexit and general bad news stories.

One thing Loveone and my neighbours are really good at though, is spreading the message of the importance of community and fighting for our high streets. We have worked hard at fostering relationships with both Ipswich Central, our Business Improvement District and Ipswich Borough Council. Together we are a much stronger voice and a wider reach, both locally and regionally. The traders have been very involved with all of the targeted campaigns from All About Ipswich, including Heritage Weekend and Food & Drink Forknight; celebrating what we do well in a very historic and attractive quarter of the Town.

Waterfront Life magazine continues to be an important link for the Saints quarter to the Waterfront community, especially as we are one of the main routes linking the town centre to the Waterfront. Our fortunes are intrinsically linked.

My own personal highlights this year were reaching the finals of the RETAS, an industry award for independent gift shops, and celebrating 10 years on the High Street. I still firmly believe that our high streets have a huge part to play at the heart of our communities; with a shifting emphasis now to a retail-leisure mix. The fact that we can access shopping 24/7, means that the need for bricks and mortar shops may wain, but the indies on your local high street can offer personal service, product knowledge, interesting conversation and a sense of place.

I have a simple wish for next year….to see the Saints remain as a go-to destination for something different; both for shopping and also for eating and drinking. I very much hope that we will see the return of our popular Street Markets and continue to grow as a community, playing our part in  helping Ipswich realise its potential.

A big thank you to all the visitors and shoppers who have supported the Saints this year, it is very much appreciated…..but remember your indies are for all year, not just for Christmas!