Outdoor shop owner sees bright future as he marks 10th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 10:10 24 December 2017
A Weston-super-Mare shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary and its owner believes the town's independent businesses have a bright future.
Outdoors & Active, in Meadow Street, has been trading for a decade – witnessing much change in an area which is fast becoming a hub for independent businesses.
Owner Paul Batts opened the outdoors shop with his wife Julie in 2007, working seven days a week for more than a year to get the business established.
And after years of hard work, Mr Batts believes the shop is ‘starting to get recognition within the trade’.
He told the Mercury: “We saw a bit of a gap in the market 10 years ago, in that there wasn’t a place selling a good selection of outdoor products. You had to go to Bristol.
“We’ve developed and become specialists in quite a few areas and built up a reputation. We get people coming in from far afield.
“In this street we’ve seen a lot of changes, a lot of businesses have come and gone either side of us.
“Luckily in this industry it’s quite a touchy-feely thing, our products are not the sort of thing you would buy online because you want to see what they look and feel like, which is helpful.
“A lot of people think it’s easy, and you open a shop and people buy things, but it’s not. You’ve got to know what you’re about, do your homework, learn from your competitors, and hopefully you’ll still be there in the years to come.”
Mr Batts has since got more involved with town centre enterprise, becoming chairman of Weston Business Improvement District (BID), which looks to promote trade through initiatives like street wardens and campaigns to support independent businesses.
And Mr Batts is confident Orchard Meadows can further enhance its reputation as a focal point for independent and ‘interesting shops’.
He said: “It has been a good story so far, but there’s still a long way to go. One of the reasons I got involved with the BID was I could see the potential for Orchard Meadows to become a recognised area, it just needed a bit of work.
“We’re six years into that process. I always said it might take 10 years to do it, but there are some good businesses coming into the area and we are developing an identity.
“As the town comes together with all the other developments, hopefully Orchard Meadows will play a key role and be appreciated by the locals as being an independent and specialist area where the interesting shops are.”