Buzz is on its way back to town centre
“We love being in the town and the regeneration plans are exciting and offer something to look forward to."
Nuneaton is on the way back to it’s pre-Covid standing as a busy, diverse shopping town with a great vibe, believes Lauren Wills.
Lauren has run Sassy Giraffe in the town centre since 2017 and has just renewed her lease on the popular gift shop on Newdegate Street.
Sassy Giraffe is typical of the small independent businesses that underpin the appeal of the town centre. And while in recent years Nuneaton, like every town in the UK, has endured some tough challenges, Lauren reckons that, with exciting regeneration plans now advancing, the town can fully bounce back.
“I remember the year before Covid walking through the town centre early one Saturday evening and it was fantastic,” she said. “Loads of independent cafes and shops had opened up and the place was buzzing. I remember thinking, ‘how great is this?’
“That shows what the town can be. Then Covid came along and it hasn’t fully recovered since and the last few years have prevented us growing as much as we’d hoped, but we have survived and are ready to grow again when things pick up.
“We love being in the town and the regeneration plans are exciting and offer something to look forward to. These things take time to put in place, and the length of time is a concern because it is a battle for small businesses at the moment, but we are committed to staying around because it will be brilliant when it’s all done.
“It will encourage shoppers and visitors back into the town and will inspire people to open small businesses, which will complement the great ones that we have already got: we can then get back to where we were, which was fantastic.”
Sassy Giraffe is well-established in the town centre, having benefited from local business support. Lauren received advice and a grant from the Survive, Sustain & Grow programme from Warwickshire County Council in 2021.
“That support was invaluable at that time,” Lauren said. “It enabled us to buy printing machines so that we could personalise products and offer a much greater range. That meant we could offer something different and adapt to the specific products that people want. It really kept us going. When we needed support, the council was there for us.”
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