Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

PUBLISHED: 23:41 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 February 2013

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Leamington Spa is renowned for its elegant Regency architecture, tree-lined avenues and magnificent gardens and, the eclectic mix of unique shops draw visitors from far and wide.

Bid Leamington, a not-forprofit organisation that began trading in July 2008 with the aim to market and promote Royal Leamington Spa as the preferred place to visit and shop staged a successful 'Independents' Day' in July to promote the town as the home of the independent retailer. Attracting several thousand visitors the day was a great success.

"Leamington has an enviable reputation for its superb shopping, with over 400 shops offering everything from major high street names to beautiful, individual boutiques selling designer labels," says Helen Smith, executive director of BID Leamington. "My favourite parts of the town include Regent Street, Warwick Street and Park Street with their array of independent boutique shops and also Jephson Gardens, which are perfect for a gentle stroll. "Leamington is fantastic place to live," she continues. "It's friendly, hospitable and has plenty to offer residents."



Sue Morris and Nicola Lea, joint owners of Deli-Cious

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

We've been trading just over a year, having taken over the shop last May.

Why Leamington?

We live fairly locally and didn't know Leamington that well but were looking for a deli to take on and loved the feel of Regent Street and the shop and it was the right size for us. Having both done very different careers before - dietician and occupational therapist - it was a very big life change for us but what we wanted to do.

How is business?

The oils and vinegars do very well and we've built up trade with hampers. A lot of people now, rather than eat out, come in and buy deli cheeses and eat at home so business has been fine and doing well.

What are your plans for the future?

We are generally extending the range of unusual and interesting products that people might not be able to find anywhere else.

Deli-Cious, 104 Regent Street,

Tel: 01926 831 614

Sarah Horne, proprietor Sarah Horne Flowers

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

We have been established in Leamington for 29 years. My mum originally set up the business here (formerly Silk) because we've always lived in Leamington.

How has business been?

We've been weathering the recession very well. We have a good base of very loyal customers and we are always thinking of new ideas to keep customers coming back.

What's special about Leamington?

We are very lucky in terms of having places like Aubrey Allen, who are one of the most successful butchers around and offer a very personal service, and there are so many places to eat: we have everything from la carte at Oscars, down to the fantastic Balti houses.

What are your plans for the future?

I've been writing a book on floral designs that will be launched in November and will be doing more demonstration classes in Leamington for our customers. We also have a Belgian chocolate counter in the shop so we are working on letting everyone know about that.

Sarah Horne Flowers, 86 Warwick Street.

Tel: 01926 424 826


Dorothea Vernon, proprietor of Dorotea, luxury ladies fashion retailer

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

The business has been going 18 years.

Why Leamington?

I was based in the area and always liked Leamington and found it to be a very good catchment area, especially with all of the independents that are around here.

Is the town supportive of its independents?

The independents seem to pull together and we have a good response from people in Park Street. If customers can't find anything that's right for them in our shop, we'll send them to another shop to keep them in the street and the town.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to provide a good service and do the best we can. We don't want to expand because it's a personal business and had customers from day one and we want to keep it personal.

Dorotea, 16 Park Street.

Tel: 01926 334 880

Howard Wilson, joint proprietor of contemporary Italian furniture and gift boutique, Elise

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

My wife and I set up the shop eight years ago.

Why Leamington?

Leamington is very cosmopolitan and upmarket. It has the right type of clientele that are attracted to the Italian designer products we sell.

What do you like about Leamington?

Leamington is modern, very open, pleasing on the eye and clean. There are a lot of nice restaurants and a great new coffee shop that's recently opened over the other side of the street called Gusto; very Italian.

Is there anything you would change?

Our biggest gripe is getting people to visit the side streets. All of the shops around us and this end of Regent Street, especially, are what make Leamington what it is. They are definitely the best reason to come to Leamington and often overlooked.

Elise, 13b Park Street.

Tel: 01926 888 290


Steve Price, proprietor of the Lantern Sweet Shop

Why Leamington?

We opened in November 2006; prior to that I had a catering business in town which I ran for 10 years.

Why a sweet shop?

There seemed to be a gap in the market for a real sweet shop where you can get over 500 varieties of classic sweets. It's very nostalgic and anything retro is popular now.

Who are your typical customers?

Kids only account for a third of our overall sales really. They come in with their 50p in their hand that's all hot because they've held it for so long and can spend an hour choosing. It's the grown ups who are more likely to get carried away and spend 10 or 15 on sweets.

How has business been?

It's been really good. Sweets are like affordable instant gratification. People can't afford a meal out or luxury holiday so maybe a night in with some bon bons!

Why is Leamington a good place for your business?

I think it works well because it's affluent and has a growing population and is growing in stature because of increased quality in shops. There are always lots of things going on in the town which draws people here.

Lantern Corner Sweet Shop, 124 Regent Street.

Tel: 01926 451 770

Anne Moran, proprietor of Women's designer store Amorani

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

Ten years, before opening Amorani I had a restaurant in Rugby.

Why did you choose Leamington?

What I was offering wasn't here already, there was a niche for alternative, individual clothing. I thought Leamington could cope with a trendy boutique kind of offering.

How have you found business?

Business has not been easy because if you are offering something different it takes a while to build up confidence with a customer. Over the time here I've built up some good regular customers who love it now and it has made a big difference to them.

What's the best thing about Leamington?

I love everything about the town: the buildings, the lovely park and river. It's got a very special feel to it.

Amorani, 13 Park Street,

Tel: 01926 833 521


Mr Finn, proprietor of Robert Charles Leather Goods

How long have you been trading in Leamington?

It's been a family business for 25 years. I brought the business off my father about 16 years ago when he retired at which time we moved premises.

How have you found business?

The business built up quite nicely up to about a couple of years ago but with the parking charges it gets more and more difficult, especially with costs going up and up. Leamington still has a lot of independents but not nearly as many as it had five or 10 years ago.

What changes need to be made?

The Council can address local issues with car parking charges and things like that. It some sort of deluded idea that keeping cars out of the town will make it a nicer place, but the people who drive cars generate the most spending in the town. If you keep them out of the town they will go elsewhere.

Robert Charles Leathergoods, 10 Parade

Tel: 01926 881 584

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