New dawn for Louth

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
May 2023

As this popular Wolds market town bids farewell to some established names, Glynis Fox finds there is much to look forward to, with exciting plans and new initiatives emerging.

Lincolnshire Wolds market town Louth has not been immune to the winds of change whistling through the UK’s high streets – but it has definitely held onto its great reputation for offering shoppers quality personal service.

Now a boost of new jobs is on the horizon, thanks to a growing name in hospitality revealing it has snapped up Eve & Ranshaw’s premises, following the recent closure of the long-standing department store.

West Country-based café/bar group Loungers Plc is gearing up to open the Alfredo Lounge in the Market Place unit, bringing the promise of about 25 new jobs.

The new lounge will be open all day, every day, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, including full kids’, gluten-free and vegan menus. The venue also aims to be family-friendly – offering a selection of games, books, colouring pencils and pads – and little Loungers will also have a full menu, high chairs and baby-changing facilities.

Alfredo Lounge is also keen to welcome locals looking for a space in which to run networking and club meetings, and other sessions.

Loungers community manager Gemma Irwin said: “We’re so looking forward to opening the doors of Alfredo Lounge in October. We hope our family friendly environment and top-notch food and drink offering will prove popular with local residents. 

“We’re passionate about integrating genuinely into the communities we serve, so we’re looking forward to meeting everyone and to playing our part at the heart of Louth’s food and drink scene. 

“Anyone looking for a space to host events or groups should pop in once we’re open, we’d love to hear from them and see what we can do to help.”

SHOPPING OPPORTUNITIES
As we went to press, fashion outlet M&Co was running down the remaining stock in its large shop in the town, but it is not yet clear who might be considering a move into that unit, which is just a stone’s throw away from the old Eve & Ranshaw outlet.

Apart from these comings and goings, there is always plenty to attract shoppers who take the time to wander around Louth’s streets and alleyways, where they will find unexpected treasures – including businesses they have never spotted before.

This is a lively destination and the perfect place to discover historical landmarks, a wealth of independent traders and tuck into a tasty lunch or irresistible cream tea.

Market-lovers will find even more of interest with outdoor stalls to browse on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Among the town’s longer-standing businesses are branches of High Street favourites, which jostle with long-standing independents such as Lucks of Louth and Pocklington’s Bakery – but it’s a constantly changing scene.

Uniquely, many of Louth’s commercial premises are ideally tailored to suit smaller, private businesses – and they get snapped up by new arrivals, successful shopkeepers who want to move up to slightly bigger units and those who started off in other towns and have decided it is high time they had a Louth presence.

However, that doesn’t mean that shoppers won’t find supermarkets and branches of other national businesses – many of which are based on the periphery, rather than in the centre.

VIBRANT DESTINATION
Gary Denniss is chair of Louth Independent Traders and Special Markets co-ordinator, as well as being a partner in the Little Eastgate shop M&G Designs Needlecraft.

While acknowledging the loss of the old Eve & Ranshaw store and the imminent closure of M&Co, Gary doesn’t believe these developments have necessarily heavily impacted footfall figures.

“Nine times out of 10, when a Louth business closes, within in a short time someone else moves in bringing something new to the town,” he said.

“Trade in Louth is still good, we are still a vibrant destination. These are challenging times, but we’ve still got plenty to offer people.

“Louth’s many family-run and independent businesses are its strength. They are suited to the size of many business premises and they also adapt more easily to changing times. We get lots of visitors, including holidaymakers staying at the coast. They think the town’s brilliant and they appreciate the good customer service on offer.

“There is also good mileage here for expanding businesses looking for slightly bigger premises and others who see the town as a good location to open a second, or third branch of an existing business.”

The current trading climate is tough and Louth has seen some of its smaller businesses disappear, but Gary urged owners to thoroughly check their true costs first to make sure that closure is really unavoidable.

He said the intense hype from some media surrounding the cost of living and rising prices hasn’t helped businesses. Many owners have cited energy costs as the last straw but, equally, he knows of cases where businesses have discovered their projected energy costs are actually lower than they at first expected.

On a more upbeat note, Louth’s speciality markets continue to attract attention. Gary leads on the town’s bumper festive market and the outlook for the 2023 event is already looking bright.

He said: “Our Christmas market is always extremely popular. Traditionally it has attracted about 90 traders and organisations and some have already booked their pitches. This year’s event takes place on Sunday 3rd December and it will be staged across the whole of the town.”

While exploring Louth, visitors are encouraged to discover quaint alleyways and streets off the main roads through the town, including Pawnshop Passageway, Little Butchers Lane, Vickers Lane and the wildlife area Spout Yard.

Vickers Lane is home to #Hastag – a colourful boutique bursting with a wonderful blend of new and pre-loved womenswear. It’s a favourite with shoppers who love putting together outfits with a smart casual vibe.

While in the Lane, you could also take time out for coffee and a snack in the neighbouring vegan café and deli, Green Cottage Deli.

Intriguingly-named Pawnshop Passageway is also worth second look and the place to find concept hair salon Re-Invention House, which offers its own brand of personal service. The business was established in 2008 by Jak Bakewell.

Described as a tranquil, relaxing oasis, in addition to offering high-end styling, customers can enjoy barista-style drinks, select their own music, read newspapers and even go online, thanks to the in-house iPads!

LINCOLNSHIRE DAY CELEBRATION
Louth’s Autumn Food and Drink Festival promises to be a fabulous event, so make sure you don’t miss it!
East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) urged traders keen to have a presence at the event – taking place on Lincolnshire Day, Sunday 1st October – to submit applications by the end of February.

As we went to press, the authority still had to apply for a larger road closure to accommodate everyone, but the outlook is exciting.

A spokesperson said: “We have had an overwhelming response to the festival and we are on track to have over 60 stands. There will be a food demo area and Children’s Corner with Rhubarb Theatre performing The Hungry Caterpillar, with associated crafts. So it really is set to be a day for all the family.

We’ve been totally blown away by the selection of top-quality businesses which we’ve managed to attract.

“There will be a stall to suit everyone’s taste, including heritage fruit trees, honey, locally-made spirits and ales, homemade macarons and bakes, street food and, of course, some of our finest local cheeses and plum loaf.”

The festival is part of a piece of work the council is doing to promote the fabulous food and drink offer in the town and it also has plans to launch an interactive food and drink map.

The overwhelming response to the festival means ELDC has had to apply for a space online at lovelincolnshirewolds.com, which will list all the town’s venues, shops and suppliers.

“People will be able to search different themes – i.e. cafés, tea rooms etc. When we audited the town centre businesses, we realised Louth punches well above its weight, with over 100 food and drink establishments, many of which are using local produce or creating their own produce. How many rural market towns can boast its own sushi bar, for example!” said the spokesperson.

The Louth Food and Drink Festival will mark the finale of British Food Fortnight and ELDC is working with a group of town centre businesses to plan several promotions and activities throughout the initiative to really put this destination on the map – watch this space!

PEREGRINES TAKE UP RESIDENCE
Local photographer Stephen Plant writes: “Since the breeding programme began in 2015, Louth’s falcons have successfully raised 22 young.

“In late January this year the wooden nesting tray filled with gravel was put on the viewing platform, 200ft up on St James’ church.

“For the ninth year in succession, Lincolnshire Bird Club has kindly funded a live feed for us to watch over the internet, which was installed by the people who provide similar for the Springwatch team.

“In 2019, disaster struck when in late June/July winds and rains contributed to the demise of all five laid eggs and chicks, which was a record for the county.

“However, in following years the weather has been much kinder and the nesting tray has been covered with a roof for added protection.

“In 2021, which was the best year so far, four eggs where laid, the young were ringed in late May, and within two months they all became confident flyers.

“Last year saw the falcons successfully breed again producing four eggs and four young, all female.

“I was lucky enough to be invited by Alan Ball from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to witness the ringing of the four young.

“Peregrine Falcons, whose life expectancy is thought to be around 15 years, now nest on many man-made, locations throughout the UK.”

You can follow the Louth Peregrines this year at www.louthperegrines.org.uk, www.lincsbirdclub.uk and www.snap-net.uk

MARKING 25 YEARS OF TRADING
Gary and Marcia Denniss are flying the flag for independent businesses as they celebrate their 25th year of trading.

The couple, who are at the helm of M&G Designs Needlecraft, run a shop bursting with irresistible delights for anyone who loves to keep their hands busy!

They originally started out in Eastgate, where they specialised in selling curtains, then moved to Little Eastgate, then moved again to their current shop in that street, where they have been for 12 years.

The shop has a long and loyal following, attracting knitters, embroiderers and dressmakers, in search of eye-catching materials, gorgeous wools, sewing notions and more. Customers include firm fans of the popular annual Knitting & Stitching Shows in Birmingham and Harrogate and so know what they like!

To mark their 25th year in business, Gary and Marcia are running a special “lucky draw” where customers have the chance to win a £25 voucher each month this year to spend on their favourite goodies.

RELOCATION FOR SOLICITORS
Law firm Wilkin Chapman has brought its Louth and Horncastle teams together, providing a more co-ordinated and seamless service to clients across the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Staff from both former offices are now making the most of the contemporary, open-plan working space at Oxley House on Louth’s Fairfield Industrial Estate.

Wilkin Chapman solicitors celebrated the landmark opening by welcoming more than 70 professional contacts across the region to tour their new office.

The law business, which employs more than 400 people, has taken the first floor of the building. As we went to press, Oxley House’s owner, accountancy and business adviser Duncan & Toplis, was due to move into the rest of the space.

Wilkin Chapman Partner and head of the new Wolds Office, Claire Parker-Robson said: “The new development looks absolutely fantastic and provides us with a modern, flexible environment that’s better suited to hybrid working and the changing needs of our clients.”

GORGEOUS GEMS AND MORE
If you’re looking for the ideal gift for friends and family, or want to treat yourself to a touch of sparkle, Striacroft Jewellers at 17 Market Place offers a stunning collection of jewellery and giftware. As Louth’s longest established family jewellers, customers enjoy five-star service from the helpful expert team.

This gem of a store offers a wide range of high quality diamond, gold and silver jewellery, engagement rings and wedding rings, together with premium watches and clocks to suit all budgets Also popular this season is the new Nomination range of composable charms for bracelets. For classic comic book enthusiasts in search of something a bit different, look out for the new range of Marvel and Star Wars bookends, figures, cardholders and key rings.

A member of the National Association of Jewellers and the Guild of Master Craftsmen, Striacroft Jewellers offers a variety of services, including watch repairs, engraving, valuations and insurance with a large range of second-hand jewellery.

Striacroft Jewellers are also main agents for Citizen, Zeppelin, Iron Annie, Kronaby and Lorus watches and you will also find pre-owned luxury brands including Rolex.

Open Monday to Saturday, 9am-5pm. For more information visit www.striacroft.co.uk

MEET THE NEW MANAGER AT THE WOLDS CARE CENTRE
The Wolds Care Centre in Louth is delighted to welcome Michaela McGlynn as the new manager.

Michaela brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise in the care sector, having worked in various roles for more than 18 years.

Before joining The Wolds Care Centre, Michaela was responsible for five residential homes supporting adults with autism and/or learning disabilities. She also worked in elderly care, starting her career in 2003.

Michaela holds a Level 5 qualification in health and social care and a Level 5 qualification in safeguarding and the law. She keeps herself updated by reading, attending local and national forums, and staying up to date with CQC releases. Michaela was attracted to the position of manager at The Wolds Care Centre, because she knew that the HICA Group, which operates the home, was a good company to work for, having worked for them previously. She was keen to be a registered manager again and was immediately drawn to The Wolds Care Centre. After visiting the home shortly after being offered the job, Michaela instantly got a wonderful feeling from the home and couldn’t wait to start.

HICA CEO Terry Peel said: “Michaela’s appointment is a testament to our commitment to delivering the best care possible to our residents.

“We are excited to see how her experience, passion, and expertise will help shape the future of The Wolds Care Centre.

“We are confident that Michaela will make a significant contribution to the home, and we look forward to working with her to provide the best possible care for our residents.”

The Wolds Care Centre delivers the highest quality residential, nursing, and respite care, as well as end-of-life care for which it has received the nationally recognised Gold Standards Framework award.

The HICA Group is a ‘not for profit’ organisation that specialises in care and support solutions for older people and people with a learning disability through a portfolio of residential care homes and domiciliary care services.

For more information visit www.hica-uk.com

ARRANGING A PEACEFUL GOODBYE
Established in 1995, R Arnold Funeral Service’s compassionate team strive to support you in helping to arrange a respectful and personalised service. As experienced and dedicated funeral directors, husband and wife team Lindsay and Richard Arnold take the time to talk to each client and listen to their individual needs. As well respected members of the British Institute of Embalmers and National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, they can offer a range of funeral plans to help cover costs.

“As one of the most rewarding services you can offer, our compassionate, approachable team take time to talk to each of our clients, looking after and guiding you every step of the way, offering guidance whatever time of day or night that you might need us.”

For more information visit www.rarnoldfuneralservice.com

ENJOY A ROYAL WELCOME AT THE KINGS HEAD
Located in the centre of Louth, the Kings Head is a traditional Grade II listed coaching inn offering excellent accommodation, food and hospitality.

Cosy, comfortable rooms feature a choice of super king, king and family ensuites, with a three bedroomed serviced apartment ideal for larger parties and families also available.

There is Sky/BT Sports and free Wi-Fi, with a full English or continental breakfast included in all room rates. Guests enjoy home cooked lunchtime and evening menus created using locally sourced fresh produce in the private dining room, restaurant or bistro which can also be hired for private events.

Don’t miss the luxury afternoon tea, with traditional sandwiches, cakes and pastries, and vegan and vegetarian options too, plus a glass of Prosecco – booking essential. There is also live music every Saturday evening.

For more information visit www.kingsheadlouth.co.uk

THE PLACE TO GO FOR TYRES
With branches across Lincolnshire, Bush Tyres is the place to go for tyres, wheels, alignments, brakes, batteries and more.

The Bush group also offers mechanical work, such as MOTs and servicing at their Lincoln, Spalding and Boston branches.

Bush Tyres is still family-owned and since starting life as a cycle shop before World War II has come a long way to offer a range of automotive services. Bush also offers free vehicle checks to ensure road safety.

“As we enter the summer months and the weather warms up, it’s important that everyone checks their tyres are ready for warmer weather and longer journeys,” explains Ben Bush, great grandson of Bush founder, Benjamin Arthur Bush.

“That is why we offer FREE vehicle checks to make sure vehicles are summer ready. We also offer a 24-hour breakdown service and have branches across Lincolnshire and the East of England to keep people safe and on the road.”

For more information visit www.bushtyres.co.uk

QUALITY CUTS AND MORE AT WOOLLISS & SON BUTCHERS
Situated in Mercer row in the centre of Louth, Woolliss & Son Butchers offers a wide selection of quality meats, as well as a select range of homemade award winning pies which blend traditional and modern tastes using their own fresh locally sourced meat.

The experienced team at this highly regarded family business also pride themselves on the quality of the ready prepared range of products and meat sold, as well as exceptional butchery skills with a comprehensive range of quality pies.

Woolliss & Son Butchers also cater for those with a sweet tooth offering a select range of pastries, cakes and bakes. Open 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday.

VILLAGE STORE CHAMPIONS LOCAL PRODUCE
Situated in the village of Donington on Bain, Post & Pantry is a unique village store, tea room and post office which offers an array of carefully selected, locally sourced produce featuring many Lincolnshire specialities.

Run by husband and wife team Simon and Diana Lidgard, who launched the aptly named business in 2016, Post & Pantry was awarded ELDC Independent Retailer of the Year in 2019.

This specialist shop also supplies bespoke hampers, with prices starting at just £20.

The tearoom, which features indoor seating and outdoor seating in the garden, is popular with locals, as well as visitors including dog walkers, cyclists and ramblers who all receive a warm welcome and the chance to sample delicious local food and drinks. A takeaway service is also available.

Groups of eight or more are advised to book in advance. Post & Pantry is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9am to 5.30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. 

For more information tel: 01507 343220, email info@postandpantry.co.uk or visit www.postandpantry.co.uk

Photographs: Mick Fox



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