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 natasha.young@champnews.com
Monday, 28 February 2011 (3012570)
It's not the end for small shops, say traders
by Natasha Young


A GROUP of independent traders in Birkdale have claimed they are bucking the North West trend by continuing to open up new shops.

On the front page of last week's Champion, Southport MP John Pugh said independent shops needed “the support of local people, MPs and planning law” to survive, after research by the Association of Convenience Stores (ASC) claimed the region is one of the worst affected by increases in high street vacancy rates.

But landscape gardener Greg Mook, who opened a gardening shop at the Crown Buildings on Liverpool Road, Birkdale said the retail block was mainly empty when he moved in last September, but has since had new shops opening up there regularly.

“There's about five shops that have opened up in the last six months,” said Mr Mook.

He explained that barber shop Nico's had opened recently, and Allen Hanmer who owns Birkdale News at the site is getting set to open a new coffee shop there this week.

“Places are closing down but we're going up,” added Mr Mook. “Our place was like that but now it's a different story. I think there's a lot of hope for small businesses.”

Mr Hanmer, who only opened his newsagents last October and opened his second business there today (Wednesday), said that it shows the “wrong attitude” to suggest that small business can't survive. He said: “All the shop owners here are having the right attitude. Small businesses are about making a living but big ones are about making more money for companies.”

He explained that the personal touch helps to keep attracting customers to small shops, and added:“If you treat people nicely and with respect they come to you.”

Nargis Rahman, who has been running the Curry House at the Crown Buildings for 13 years with her husband Aziz, said the Indian takeaway was the only business at the site for a while and she is “happy that it has all filled up”.

She added: “It's not the end for local businesses, it's fine. If we can stick around for 13 years then I'm sure other people can.

”If you can keep your customers happy there shouldn't be a threat from big shops.“






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