Independent Traders of Worthing, Sussex
A handful of independent traders are forging a new commercial identity for the picturesque seaside town of Worthing. Jenny Mark-Bell speaks to some of the business-owners nurturing the town's 'green shoots' business
Before establishing the shop on Portland Road, Debbie, Emily and Lydia sold their jewellery through craft fairs and jewellery parties, but it was always their intention to trade from Worthing, says Lydia. “We all knew the town well, and we felt there was a gap in the market for affordable handmade jewellery. Our customers are discerning individuals who appreciate the high quality and individuality of what we make.”
The designers want special occasion jewellery to be a cornerstone of the business, and they are currently working on new wedding collections to include bridal jewellery and bridesmaids’ presents. They also have a range of christening and naming day gifts in the pipeline.
The workshop forms part of the shop, enabling customers to see the jewellery-making process first hand.
If this gets your creative juices flowing, Debbie, Emily and Lydia offer a silver experience day workshop to guide you through the process of designing and making your own piece of jewellery.
- 1 10 great circular walks in Lancashire
- 2 Win the full range of Bashall Spirits Gins
- 3 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 4 15 festivals and shows happening this summer in Devon
- 5 Seven Falls, Tintwistle - a hidden gem in the Peak District
- 6 9 places to eat out in Chester this summer
- 7 Peek inside this £1.9m Cotswold house with breathtaking countryside views
- 8 6 great walks near Ramsbottom
- 9 7 great walks in Wensleydale
- 10 18 festivals happening this summer in Dorset
Glitter & Twisted
89 Portland Road, Town Centre, Worthing, BN11 1QG
Tel: 01903 232 843
The Musician –Guitar Junction
High Street Heroes
A handful of independent traders are forging a new commercial identity for the picturesque seaside town of Worthing. Jenny Mark-Bell speaks to some of the business-owners nurturing the town’s ‘green shoots’ business
When the Worthing branch of Woolworths closed early last year, it left a big hole in the town’s high street. When high-street fashion giant H&M opened its doors at the same site months later, therefore, it was a cause for celebration, especially among the town’s younger residents – it seemed that the town’s shoppers had something to feel optimistic about again.
As a shopping destination, Worthing sometimes suffers from its vicinity to Brighton’s big-name stores but, thanks to its independent shops, it is forging its own, very individual, identity – almost all of the shops in the colourful West End (which runs from the western end of Montague Street to the Heene Road area) are independently owned.
Mike Corrigan, of the hugely popular Parklife Bakery in Bath Place, is excited about the town’s future: “As well as having a good selection of the larger high-street stores, the town’s recently been attracting more independent shops such as us. All this and we have one of the best beaches on the south coast!”
The Master Bakers – Parklife Bakery
Mike and Beverley Corrigan started with a passion for extravagantly decorated cupcakes and have built a thriving business over a period of five years. Parklife Bakery is extremely popular locally, and its fame has spread further afield. They recently took an order from a customer in Canada who ordered a delivery to her family’s holiday cottage.
Mike and Beverley opened their kiosk at Homefield Park in 2005: “It became clear that people were as enthusiastic as we were about the products we sold.” They opened the caf� in Bath Place in 2008, providing a funky environment in which to enjoy home-baked cakes, shakes and coffee, and have weathered the economic downturn with enviable ease: “What we offer is an affordable treat to cheer you up, an antidote to the ‘R’ word,” says Mike.
Worthing was the perfect place for Parklife: “It’s full of people who want top-quality coffee and cake. Bath Place was the obvious choice as we have a good variety of other independents offering a similar high quality service nearby, and we seem to appeal to all ages: you are never too old or young to enjoy a Kinder Bueno milkshake and a glittery cupcake!”
Parklife source as much produce as possible locally: “Our veg is from Browns in town, our coffee is blended and roasted locally from a company called Roasted, and our milk is from a farm in West Sussex. Wholesome Foods supply our free-range eggs, bacon and ham and our bread is made in Lancing by Foccacia Bakery.”
6 Bath Place, Worthing, BN11 3BA
Tel: 01903 207777
The Pillar of the Community – GH Pressley
George Pressley moved his business to Worthing in 1909 after trading jewellery in London. Now, fourth generation descendant Jonathan Pressley hopes to welcome new customers to the store whilst keeping the traditional values that have been integral to the shop’s success for generations.
Jonathan believes that the longevity of the business is attributable to loyalty to its customers and to Worthing. The shop moved from its original position in Montague Street in 1935 but has occupied the same site in South Street ever since. “We cater for a wide range of customers, but most importantly we retain the loyalty of families who have been our customers for generations.”
Excellent product knowledge and customer service have always been vital to the shop’s success, says Jonathan. “We provide excellent quality and value for money, but attention to detail is paramount.”
As a resident of Shoreham-by-Sea, Jonathan chooses to shop in Worthing himself. “I enjoy the ease of walking from Warwick Street to Montague Street. It is a rarity for a town shopping centre to be so close to the sea and, on a sunny day, families can do their shopping before enjoying an ice cream on the beach. I believe in Worthing and as a business our goal is to continue to help inspire trust in Worthing’s Town Centre.”
46 South Street, Worthing, BN11 3AA
Tel: 01903 238997
The Artisans – Glitter & Twisted
Debbie Plowman, Emily Booth and Lydia Foster met while studying Jewellery Design at Northbrook College, Worthing in 2006 and it was during a college field trip to Florence that they discovered they shared the same dream of owning a business.
The three women wanted to offer a bespoke commission service as well as offering a showcase for other local jewellery designers and makers. “Our aim was to design and make quality handmade jewellery at an affordable price – we love what we do and wanted a business that reflected this”, says Lydia.
When Dave Crozier opened Guitar Junction six years ago, he had a very specific vision in mind; a shop where customers could relax and play guitar: “The aim was to set up a shop with exactly the right atmosphere to attract people with a passion for guitars – many of our customers treat the shop as a guitar club, and we have no problem with that” says Dave.
A self-confessed ‘guitar nut’, Dave has played since he was 12. “I had a so-called proper job for many years,” he remembers. “Running the shop was a lifelong dream that perhaps I never thought would become reality, but it has – very successfully.”
Guitar Junction moved to its current site in the High Street last September after expanding twice.
The shop caters for guitar aficionados but also for beginners. Customers could be looking for a first-ever guitar or they could be on the hunt for the perfect guitar for their collection.
“Many guitarists spend a happy lifetime searching for that elusive guitar that provides exactly what they want in terms of tone, playability and good looks.”
Upgrading to larger premises during a recession was a bold move, but it worked well for Guitar Junction, says Dave. “Because of the guitars on offer, many of our customers travel quite a way to shop at Guitar Junction, and sales of higher-end guitars have held up really well over the past couple of years, partly as they were seen as a good investment. The recession has worked for us.”
28-30 High Street, Worthing, BN11 1NT
Tel: 01903 209 199