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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the November 2014 issue

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If you’re passionate about market town shopping, Louth – in the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds – has a wealth of retail therapy waiting to be savoured.

Allow an extra hour or two to check out the town’s other attractions, or time your visit to coincide with one of Louth’s popular events, and you can expect to have a special day out.

This destination is also an ideal ‘stopping-off’ point if you want to take a break en route to the county’s coast. Alternatively, you could explore the immediate countryside, go golfing or horse riding, or even hit the motor racing circuit at Cadwell Park.

There’s an extra buzz about the town on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – when an array of colourful market stalls dominate the streetscene and help to bring in even more shoppers and visitors from miles around.

Regular weekly markets are complemented by Farmers’ Markets on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Food Friday is on the second Friday of the month and there’s a Craft Market on the third Saturday of the month.

In addition to the wealth of independent and national shops, Louth’s New Market Hall is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, so why not check it out?

Louth is, of course, continuing to make headlines over the future of the town’s Livestock Market – which has caused battle lines to be drawn between the Town Council and East Lindsey District Council. Interest groups Keep Louth Special and Move Louth Forward have also entered the fray.

As we went to press, we invited the Town and District Councils to comment on the latest state of play over the site (see our side panel).

Whatever ultimately happens, Louth is sure to continue developing, as a place which attracts national brands, as well as entrepreneurs who are encouraged to try their luck by the wealth of successful independents in the town.

One of the biggest projects currently underway in the town is the demolition of the old ABM Malt Kiln building in Newbridge Hill, where GBM Demolition’s team is hard at work clearing the way for a new £4 million Aldi store, next year.

The demolition is expected to take about twenty weeks, so GBM’s team will be on site until around the end of January.

Louth Town Partnership manager, Nicola Marshall said the newest research reveals that this popular destination is certainly holding its own in today’s highly competitive business arena.

“The latest shop vacancy rates reveal that just six per cent of the town’s shops are empty, compared with a national shop vacancy rate of 10 per cent and an East Midlands rate of 11 per cent (Springboard July 2014).

“It is also encouraging to note that 73 per cent cent of Louth’s businesses are independently owned, against 53 per cent nationally.”

These figures underline Louth’s pride in being home to so many family-run and privately owned ventures, many of which have been a key part of its business community for many years.

“We are big enough to have branches of national businesses, including Millets, two Boots outlets, Boyes and M&Co, which obviously have confidence in the town, but we also have well-known local businesses, such as the department store Eve & Ranshaw and Luck of Louth, as well as food specialists, such as The Cheese Shop and Meridian Meats,” said Nicola.

“Our smart New Market Hall is packed with a variety of businesses. It’s really a bit like the Covent Garden of Louth,” added Nicola.

If you haven’t visited Louth for a few months, it could also be worth your while checking out Mercer Row, where more recent arrivals over the past few months include Tillett’s (based in the former Spinning Wheel), Echo – which has moved into Vanilla’s old premises – and the bespoke furniture and homewares business Out of the Woods.

Another of the town’s movers is the Lincolnshire Co-operative Travel Shop, which has switched to Louth Market Place, after a decade in Eastgate.

Businesses based in the New Market Hall include a lively mix of long-standing and newer traders. Look out for The Little Sewing Shop, Kimmy Bob Beads, St Peter’s Fishmongers, Love Vintage Louth, and many more. This is also an ideal spot in which to relax over a coffee.

New Market Hall owner, Sean Lawson said: “We bought the market from the London & Cambridge Property Company at about the beginning of March this year. We have been promoting it and there are currently no vacancies.

“All the traders are local and they include a cafe, a photographer, a sewing shop, St Peter’s Fishmongers, which has been going for more than twenty years, a mobility shop, beadseller, card shop and more.”

Many businesses based in the centre qualify for business rates relief – making it an attractive proposition.

One of the quirkiest enterprises in the New Market Hall is Love Vintage Louth. The brainchild of Jon and Tracey Mackenzie, their eye-catching corner unit is crammed to the rafters with all manner of interesting items.

Fans of everything vintage find the store’s clothing rails simply irresistible, especially if they are on the hunt for a 1940s tea dress or a period hat, but this is also somewhere to find great collectables and memorabilia.

The business, which opened just over two months ago is a first venture for Jon, who used to work in costume in London, and Tracey, who is assistant manager at Louth’s Riverside Theatre.

“The rental is reasonable, the market hall has livened up and there is a cafe which helps to bring in more shoppers and visitors,” said Tracey.

“Our shop has taken off better than we expected and we are managing to sell some items which had been taking up space at home too.”

Love Vintage Louth is not only attracting repeat shoppers, it is also doing its bit to bring more people into Louth.

Tracey said word has been spreading fast and the outlet is attracting shoppers from further afield, including Lincoln, who are happy to travel to track down unique fashion items, vintage crockery and jewellery.

NEW FACE JOINS LUCK OF LOUTH
One of Louth’s most famous family retailers is Luck of Louth – which has five shops and which has been trading for about twenty-nine years.

This well-known business has recently welcomed a new arrival, manageress Kate Burton who is enthusiastically helping to keep the name of Luck flying high.

Owner, Jim Luck said: “We grew from selling leather to clothing in 2005 and expanded further with the addition of a small shoe shop in 2009.

“We have bucked the trend of the recent hard recession by stocking popular brands, such as Dubarry (footwear), The Bridge (premium quality Italian-made handbags and accessories), R M Williams, Barbour and Loake.

“We employ about twelve staff and many of them have been with us for a long time.”

The team includes Society of Shoe Fitters qualified staff and it was a proud moment for Jim when he was named Student Shoefitter of the Year at The Footwear Industry Awards 2013.

Kate Burton joined the business in July, having lived in the area for about nineteen years. She is loving the variety of working on the shop floor and also being a buyer for Luck of Louth.

“I am passionate about retailing and I have worked in the sector for several years, most recently at Next in Grimsby, but I really enjoy working in Louth. I am concentrating on our product lines and thinking about what our customers really want,” said Kate.

Kate has a degree in business and event management from Hull University and she studied for it whilst working full-time.

“I’m delighted Kate has joined us. She made a very fast impression on me,” added Jim.

QUICKSTEP TO SMOOTH MOVE
Clockwork Removals, based in Louth, has a network of ten accredited branches throughout the UK stretching from the Highlands of Scotland to Hampshire. With nearly twenty years of removals experience, Clockwork pride themselves on exceptional levels of customer service offering residential, international and office moves. The team are as happy moving an individual down the road as they are moving an entire family to Australia and their self storage services mean you can store whatever you need at your own convenience.

Clockwork provides a high quality service on a national scale whilst always maintaining important local knowledge and expertise, and Louth born Shaun Gibney heads up the Lincolnshire branch. But Shaun is not your average removals man! Out of the office Shaun is a very keen dancer with ten years’ experience, specialising in Ballroom, Latin and Sequence and Shaun’s dancefloor skills help the Lincolnshire branch to really run like Clockwork. So why not let Clockwork ‘Quickstep’ you to a really smooth move!

Clockwork Removals is based at Belvoir Way, Fairfield Ind Est, Louth, LN11 0YP. Call today for a free quote on 01507 604812, email info.lincolnshire@clockworkremovals.co.uk or visit the website at 
www.clockworkremovals.co.uk

BLOOMING FABULOUS
Louth was once again thrust into the spotlight in this year’s East Midlands in Bloom Awards. It scooped a silver gilt accolade in the large town category of the competition – for the third year on the trot – just missing out on gold by five points.

Louth also got a special judges’ award for The Friends and Volunteers of Louth Cemetery. A special pennant designed by Town Clerk, Linda Blankley also won a special prize.

LOUTH CATTLE MARKET
The future of the Louth Cattle Market site continues to cause debate – with Louth Town Council (which has joined forces with campaign group Keep Louth Special) challenging East Lindsey District Council over the decision-making process used in its agreement to sell the Cattle Market site to Asda (last July).

There is also a pro-supermarket campaign group Move Louth Forward, which is against further litigation.

East Lindsey District Council said a key part of its decision was the agreement to build a replacement livestock market facility.

As the magazine was about to go to press, Lincolnshire Life invited the Town and District Councils to brief readers on the current state of play. 

Louth Town Council said: “Following initial advice from a Barrister specialising in Judicial Reviews, a resolution was passed on the 16th September 2014 by Louth Town Council to proceed with legal action challenging the process by which the East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) decision was reached on the 23rd July 2014.

“The formal process of issuing a ‘Letter Before Action’ has commenced, which will be progressed to a request for a Judicial Review should a negative or no response be received from ELDC by the 23rd October 2014.

“Louth Town Council has agreed to underwrite any shortfall in the legal costs which is being progressed in conjunction with Keep Louth Special (KLS), initially using donated funds from local businesses and members of the public to KLS, to a maximum of 50 per cent (£12,500).

“The legal action will challenge the processes used by ELDC prior to making the decision to sell the Livestock Market to Asda and also investigate 19th Century Acts regarding ownership and permitted uses of the site.”

East Lindsey District Council said: “The existing livestock market site is significantly underused, hosting a market just half a day per week. The site also needs significant investment. 

“The District Council has agreed to sell the site to Asda, subject to contract and planning, and to build a replacement livestock market that could have more uses on more days of the week. 

“In making its decision to sell the Livestock Market site to Asda and to build a replacement livestock market the Council followed a clear and transparent process.”

CHILLI PEPPERS COOK SHOP
Based in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds, in the thriving market town of Louth, Chilli Peppers Cook Shop is a true hidden treasure, situated slightly off the beaten track, on Eastgate. Established in 2003, Chilli Peppers have continued to supply a huge range of cookware and bakeware.

In store or online, you’ll be sure to find the kitchen gadget you’ve always needed or the perfect gift for friends and loved ones. Chilli Peppers proudly stock brands such as KitchenAid, Dualit, Chasseur, Wüsthof, Joseph Joseph, AGA, Silverwood and many more.

COUNTY STORE OPENS
Moncaster Wire Products Ltd has been established for over thirty years and has developed as a market-leading supplier of a wide range of wire products, cages and accessories. During this time their range of products has been continuously expanding, enabling them to provide the most comprehensive service to customers.

Today they are part of a major European based industrial group, with resources to further extend the product range for their customers, whilst retaining their basic philosophy of supplying: quality, value for money products at competitive prices.

During November their country store opens and will include equestrian and country clothing, electric fencing and accessories, pet products, animal foods and feeders, gates/posts and accessories. New suppliers include Toggi, USG, Grub’s, Johnston & Jeff and Hotline with more to follow soon. Call the sales team on 01507 600666.

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