Traders are optimistic for the future of Stamford town centre

TRADERS are optimistic about the future of Stamford town centre, despite several shops closing their doors.

The town has seen a few businesses cease trading over the last few weeks including Mayhem and The Fit Feet Fish Spa in St Mary’s Street and jewellery shop Sirius in St Mary’s Hill.

The future of Millets in the High Street also hangs in the balance after its owners went into administration.

The company has been taken over by JD Sports and bosses say they plan to close the least profitable branches.

But despite the loss of these businesses, Stamford’s remaining traders are confident the shops will soon be snapped up by newcomers who are keen to join the impressive mix of High Street and independent shops Stamford has to offer.

Craig Benson, the owner of Black Orchid in St Mary’s Street, said: “The next year is going to be hard work and we’re not going to get back to the boom years for a while, but the traders who are left will keep their heads above water.

“Stamford has some great shops. I don’t think there is any other town with such a range of independent retailers. The shops which close are always taken up quickly, so there is still life in Stamford.”

One trader who has seen the benefit of moving to Stamford is Camilla Golland, who opened childrenswear shop Scarlet Sky in St Mary’s Street last month. She also has a shop in Oakham.

She said: “Stamford is a destination which has a real buzz about it.

“The town was always the place we wanted to open our second store and we missed out on two premises because they were taken so quickly.

“There will always be someone out there who wants to try something new, so as long as there are people willing to take a risk, the shops will never be empty for long.”

Two empty shops next to Stamford Library in High Street, which used to be occupied by a clothes shop and a cafe, are being taken over. John Steward, of Knight Partnership, was unable to comment on who the buyer is and what the building will be used for.

Work is also being done at the former Shortland Kitchens shop in St Mary’s Street, which now has Exquisite Vintage Jewellery signs in the window.

Clothing shop Nancy French, also in St Mary’s Street, is closing its doors at the end of March because owner Patricia Montgomery is retiring after 22 years.