Six new businesses open in Ipswich town centre road

Six new independent businesses are opening in St Peter's Street in Ipswich

Six new independent businesses are opening in St Peter's Street in Ipswich. From left, Saskia Brett, Sarah Blanchard, Clive Driver, Sharon Higgs, Tiani Goulbourne and Maria Zurkan - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

St Peter's Street in Ipswich is showing the way forward for retail - with an amazing six new independent businesses opening.

Along with other high streets across the country, the town centre has been hit by closures including the loss of Debenhams.

But the Saints area, known for its quirky and unusual shops and restaurants, is bucking the trend.

It has a whole string of premises opening - including a wartime-themed tearoom, a beauty salon and hairdresser as well as fashion and bridal retailers.

Clive Driver of The Blitz 1940s Tearoom in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Clive Driver of The Blitz 1940s Tearoom, one of six new independent businesses in St Peter's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

The Blitz 1940s Tearooms opened its doors on May 17 for the second time as lockdown eased and indoor dining was allowed.

Owner Clive Driver said: "We opened in December but three weeks later we had to close. It's really good to be open again."

He added: "This is the best street in Ipswich and it's nice to see the shops all filling up."

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Four shops and salons have opened their doors in the last few weeks too, with a fifth due to open in just over a week.

Maria Zurkan, owner of Hug Lifestyle, which is one of six new independent businesses opening in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Maria Zurkan, owner of Hug Lifestyle, which is one of six new independent businesses opening in St Peter's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Maria Zurkan said her store Hug Lifestyle opened very briefly for two weeks in December, then closed and is now open again. It stocks sustainable and ethically-made fashions, including organic and Fairtrade.

Maria, who is originally from Germany, said: "It's a lovely area. I was really happy when the shop became available."

Saskia Brett, owner of Blackthorn Beauty and Piercing in Ipswich

Saskia Brett, of Blackthorn Beauty and Piercing, one of six new independent businesses that has opened in St Peter's Street in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Saskia Brett of Blackthorn Beauty and Piercing said: "We've opened up for beauty treatments, and will be opening the piercing side of the business soon."

She previously worked at Freedom Tattoo in Ipswich and Bannatyne Spa in Bury St Edmunds, but now feels the time is right to start her own business.

Sharon Higgs, who runs Brides of St Peters

Sharon Higgs, who has opened new bridal boutique Brides of St Peters in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Sharon Higgs, of Brides of St Peters, said: "We opened in April, after we had originally planned to open on November 1 last year. It's lovely to see that nearly every shop in St Peter's Street is full." 

She also runs the long-established Just a Day Bridal Wear in Norwich Road.

Tiani Goulbourne, co-owner of Urban Hair Additions in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Tiani Goulbourne, co-owner of Urban Hair Additions in St Peter's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Another new business, Tiani Goulbourne and Kelsey Hardwicke's salon, Urban Hair Additions, aims to become the town's most inclusive hairdresser.

It specialises in hair replacement systems for people living with cancer, alopecia or thinning hair, and also in styling Afro-Caribbean hair.

Sarah Blanchard, owner of Fox + Bramble, due to open shortly in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Sarah Blanchard, owner of Fox + Bramble, due to open shortly in St Peter's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Sarah Blanchard is the latest to join the street's band of business owners, as she prepares to open her new baby and toddler boutique Fox + Bramble.

The range includes Scandinavian-inspired children's wooden items made in her own Suffolk studio and other unusual items.

Cathy Frost, who runs Loveone gift shop in St Peter's Street and is a director of the Saints Ipswich Community Interest Company, said: "This is something really positive for Ipswich, and especially in these times it is great to have such good news."