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Support Local: We chat to Launceston's business community

With the busiest time of year for shoppers upon us, we chat to a small group of Launceston’s business community, who are hopeful about the future of Launceston’s high street in 2024.

Simon Owens of Launceston Cycles, Pennygillam Industrial Estate, wants to encourage his customers to make the most of Launceston’s industrial estates and town centre.

Serving customers out of their fully-equipped shop space on Pennygillam Industrial Estate, Simon understands what it takes to run a business in an ever-evolving climate.

He said: “Launceston is essentially a four-centre town - it’s got the town centre, Pennygillam and Newport Industrial Estates, and the retail park. We have moved twice; from the town centre, we went to Newport, and then on to Pennygillam, and each time we moved the business grew. I believe we need to maximise our businesses to encourage the residents of Launceston to shop local. We’ve got to be part of it and regenerate it.”

They stock some of the largest bike brands in the world, including LIV, the fifth largest female specific brand in the world, and GIANT.

“I promote the town as much as possible, because my customers often come from outside of Launceston,” Simon explained. “When they’re here, we want to encourage them to come in and have a look at the castle, go for a coffee, shop in the town and see all the great things going on.”

Jade Harvey of Let’s Get Naked Refill believes local people are at the heart of ensuring independent businesses in the town survive.

Having opened her refill shop in the White Hart Arcade almost three years ago, Jade is passionate about Launceston as a community, and believes there’s so much more to town centres than the price of parking.

With an aim to reduce waste and buy what you need, Launceston really is very lucky to have access to this shop - simply bring in your tubs and jars, fill them up, and pay for what you get!

“It’s all about ‘support local’,” she said. “People want the town to be busy, but they need to understand that it’s not going to be without customers! Launceston’s local businesses, compared to a lot of towns, are really good. We just need the customers to support them.”

As well as running the shop, Jade works with local organisations to make a difference. She has worked with the Orchard Centre to provide £5 food bags, and the medical centre to support their menstrual products project. Up until Christmas, customers can buy Christmas cake and pudding kits from Jade too, plus she will have some lovely eco gifts.

Lee Hatwell of More Creative, on Newport Industrial Estate, is looking forward to another successful year ahead.

Slightly different to the other businesses in this feature, More Creative serves the commercial customer with high quality signage, printed products and more. Run by Lee and his wife Claire, with a stellar team behind them, More Creative is set for another busy year in 2024.

Working with high end clients such as Formula One, BBC and Rolls Royce, plus local names such as Philip Warren, Trethorne and Launceston Life, all work is done in house by a talented team of designers and makers.

Lee said: “We want people to know we’re here in the community and can offer a lot of product and branding choices for local businesses. We don’t focus on any one thing.

“Launceston’s very iconic. It’s quite a self-sufficient community, and I think if everyone embraced it like we do here, every town would have that success.”

Sally Meredith from Freckles Pet Goodies thinks independents offer a ‘personal touch’.

Run by Sally Meredith, Freckles Pet Goodies has been in the town for six years, starting out in the Market House Arcade before moving to their current premises on Westgate Street in March 2020. Thankfully, partly due to their new premises, the business was allowed to remain open when the pandemic hit, offering much-needed pet supplies and shoe repairs to local residents, plus taking on the bills service Pay Zone.

Sally is now determined to help bring more footfall into the town, while supporting new and existing businesses.

“All businesses in Launceston try their hardest, and we have so many independents,” she said. “If you shop local, you get that personal touch. We will bend over backwards for our customers, and what you find in an independent, you won’t find anywhere else. Each shop is unique.”

Adi Harvey from Westgate Street Deli likes to think the town centre can ‘get back to some sort of normality’ after a challenging few years.

Having traded in the town with various businesses over the years, and now serving customers out of his beautiful delicatessen on the corner of Westgate Street, overlooking the town centre, Adi encourages residents to support the town to ensure we keep a sense of independence and character and, looking to the future, businesses can be encouraged to stay open later. Adi said: “It’s a real ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, but we need to offer our services to the customer and, in return, the customer can support businesses in the town centre.” Since opening the deli three years ago, Adi and the team in the deli are glad to have had continued support from their customers. He added: “We do see a footfall and I’m glad we do; we have returning customers. I’m Launceston born and bred, and over the years I’ve been very well supported. I like to think we give the customer a good, friendly experience, and we will continue to do so.”

Rene Trewern from Zebediah’s Art and Craft Collective believes Launceston is a fantastic destination for heritage, Cornish scenery and shopping.

Zebediah’s opened in 2017 and has grown as a base for a number of Cornish artists and makers. Rene said the team at Zebediah’s receive lots of positive feedback from visitors each year, commenting on how quaint and pretty Launceston is.

“Launceston has beautiful scenery, fantastic heritage and some great shops - our town should be celebrated,” she said. “There is definitely more emphasis on independents. Customers get quality service, plus products are unique and not mass produced. Try and support your local shops and the people that supply them, and keep the town going!

“I love Launceston’s people - specifically those that support the community and its projects; its community works together.”

Zebediah’s will be open throughout the festive season, offering lots of lovely gifts.

Launceston has seen its fair share of changes over the years. As a popular market town, with plenty of history and heritage, we are lucky to have a huge variety of shops and businesses on our doorstep. And if you are able to spend a little money in the town, whether you need unique gifts for someone special, are searching for a new outfit for a Christmas party or simply want to try the town's great food and drink offering, doing it locally will support local people, suppliers and the town itself.


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