Louth’s ratio of closed town centre shops is well below the national average.
A survey just out shows that the national percentage of empty ground floor units is 11.3 per cent while the figure for the East Midlands is 9.79 per cent.
In contrast, Louth, recently voted Britain’s Favourite Market Town in a BBC poll, came in at just 3.6 per cent which is among the lowest in the country.
The town also has a very high percentage of independent shops in its retail mix, reflecting Louth’s appeal as a shopping destination and its competitive rental costs.
The Springboard survey shows that 73.6 per cent of Louth’s shops are independently owned and operated compared with the national average of 47.6 per cent and 54.6 per cent for the East Midlands.
In the past year or so several new shops, representing a mix of national franchises and independents, have opened in the town. They include Clarks Shoes, Coopland’s bakery and Serendipity in Aswell St selling vintage furniture, homewares and gifts.
Just recently children’s clothes shop Mini Threadz has started in Upgate and Jassie’s sweet shop in Pawnshop Passage.
Mini Threadz owner Melanie Ewing describes Louth as a ‘safe, clean and friendly place to live and do business’. She says it’s important to ensure Louth ‘remains a thriving and picturesque market town.”
Louth Town Partnership acting Chair Patrick Neville agrees. “We are particularly fortunate to have such a wealth of family-owned shops – many of them winners of prestigious awards - selling everything from high quality food to just about everything else.”
“We want to encourage more new businesses into the town and at the same time support our popular street markets and increase footfall. This is why we organise events such the July Food Festival, the Victorian Family Fayre in October and the Christmas Craft Market in December. As well we this year established the ‘0 Degrees’ Festival to showcase our local talent and attract even more visitors.
“Our future success depends so much on how collectively we manage our town. There are many people in and around Louth who believe that car parking fees and availability, public transport facilities and the issue of an extra supermarket must all be weighed very carefully to avoid losing what many other market towns at their cost now envy.”