Tell us: Could the Elmer trail, housing developments and a positive vibe save Ipswich town centre?
- Credit: Archant
A boutique owner who has expanded her business and moved to larger premises in Ipswich is calling on the town to be more positive about what is on offer.
Mandy Errington, who moved her DJV Boutique fashion store into larger premises in Cox Lane last October, has been trading in Ipswich for seven years trading - meaning she has seen the town go through some tough times.
She said: "These have been tough times for retail. I believe in the town but we need a good mix in the town centre, shopping and other attractions to pull people in.
She believes the town needs to evolve to suit changing market conditions and added: "In business you need to be versatile and adapt, as we have. So do town centres and added: "If people come in to town for one thing, to have their hair done or try on a dress, maybe they will stay for a meal?
Mrs Errington spent six successful years in Norwich Road before taking on her unit, which is on the ground floor of what was part of the Ipswich Co-op head office and department store. Above, the upper floors are being converted into town centre apartments.
On the opposite side of the footpath the building is earmarked for a new central school.
With the support of husband Jon she has completely refurbished and adapted her new shop and has been able to extend the ranges she offers.
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She said: "With our larger space here we offer much more than fashion, with accessories and jewellery, make-up and our boutique experience/makeover packages. We have regular events and are planning to have more. We are making it a destination."
She said the new location has helped: "The new shop is close to the car parks. The council-owned park is £2 after 2pm, which people like."
And she hopes the store will go from strength to strength as the rest of the Co-op unit is developed.
"The planned re-development in this area is much needed as an additional boost for the town. These re-developments are important for the town centre and major investments in the future."
However, while schools and accommodation will bring more people to the town, she called for shoppers to also make more of an effort to visit the town.
"We need to continue to encourage local shoppers to believe in the town centre again where they have lost interest. We need to be more positive about Ipswich and support initiatives, like the Elmer trail, which will bring more people in to town."
Mrs Errington added: "We all need to work hard to make the town more attractive for visitors."