Cathy's successful 10 years in `The Saints'
PUBLISHED: 17:02 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:02 10 November 2017
Love is in the air - as Love One in St Peter's Street celebrates a ten year anniversary in The Saints
It has been tough at times - but shopowner Cathy Frost is celebrating ten years in business in St Peter’s Street, Ipswich.
Her Love One gift shop is now part of the thriving `Saints’ area of Ipswich, which has changed and developed over the decade.
On Friday there was a party, with family, friends, neighbours and customers - some who have been with her from the early days,
Cathy Frost said: “I had no experience of retail when I opened the shop, in 2007 - and then the recession came along.
“I had been self-employed for eight years.
“After working for the council I trained as an interior designer and set up my own business after that.
“That lead me to this building, and this street.
“I set up in 2007, pre-recession. It was a period of sink or swim - we swam.
“I changed direction, from interiors to gifts, and feature artisans.
“Today we have the special Saints events, and markets too.
“Here we try to find products that are not on the main High Street, and are often from smaller independent companies.
“Many of our cards are from individual artists and designers. We want to encourage other independent busineses.
“We are trying to support smaller companies, to help them grow, which sets us apart.
“We have to encourage independent shops and businesses.
“A lot of the major high street brands are in every town. The independent sector gives a town character and diversity.
“We need to encourage that in Ipswich. That is what brings tourists in. Visitors like variety and this area is quite unique in Ipswich.”
Cathy’s experience in building a business had opened other doors. She is great champion for the town.
Some people are too quick to knock enterprise, she said, rather than support it.
“I believe in Ipswich and the future of the town.
“I think it is quite an exciting future.
“You really can grow here, if you work together. It is about partnerships, between shop and business owners, the borough council and Ipswich Central.
“I am also working for Ipswich Vision. We are all about regeneration and inward investment to promote Ipswich and realise its potential.
“That is what we have tried here, for ten years, it is exactly that.
“It is about trying to promote a more positive view of the town and encouraging new businesses when they set up
“It is what we are doing in this area, The Saints,
“It has really picked up in ten years. Ten years ago, it was about a third full. The street is virtually full now, with a great mix, and occasional changes.
“We have seen buildings rescued; where Cake and Catwalk and the Italian Shirt Shop are today was derelict for many years. That shows what can be done.
“I also love the food offer in the town. We went out to eat the other night - and I quickly counted a choice of 13 different cuisines in the town centre. We should celebrate that too. It is what brings in visitors and tourists.
“The Saints is a special area.
“And we are having a special pre-Christmas celebration - Christmas On The Saints - on Sunday November 19, from 10 am to 4 pm, when most businesses will be open.
“See you then.”