Summertime brings 'first bit of positivity' to Waterfront
- Credit: Elliott Steward
Businesses on the Waterfront enjoyed a busy weekend after the Summertime festival organised by Ipswich Borough Council attracted crowds to the area.
Aurora and Wiff Waff reported high customer numbers thanks to the festival, with Aurora manager Elliott Steward saying: "It feels like the first bit of positivity we can celebrate."
Speaking about a successful weekend at Aurora which saw them open a new outdoor bar, Mr Steward said: "Everyone was in good spirits, people were happily staying for a bit longer than one or two drinks, they are staying for the afternoon and coming and going as they pleased."
Having worked at Aurora for the past three years, Mr Steward believes that business is steadily returning to normal, he said: "Larger, family-orientated groups of mixed generations are starting to come back, which until two or three weeks ago we definitely didn't have."
The team at Aurora are now looking to the future with Mr Steward adding: "Within the next month or so it will be back to usual, we are starting to do afternoon tea again and larger buffet bookings, then we start to look forward to Christmas.
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"Since our website was updated last weekend we have had a lot of enquiries about business Christmas meals and larger family meals.
"That's the next step, getting prepared for Christmas which will hopefully be this year what we are used to with large functions. We are hoping for a busy November and December and then look forward to next summer."
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Marcus Squirrell, assistant manager at Wiff Waff, said even though the festival was at the other end of the Waterfront to the bar, there was still a welcome "boost" to weekend customer numbers.
Mr Squirrell, said over recent weeks the bar has benefited from the return of live sport, particularly Ipswich Town home games.
"I'm pretty sure we have the biggest sports screen in Ipswich and we are trying to show as many games as possible - we get a lot of football traffic."
Other businesses in the town centre are also seeing an upturn in fortunes with many advertising for new members of staff as customer numbers reach pre-pandemic levels.
Owner of The Green Room said the coronavirus pandemic forced her to restructure the business to ensure that it would survive.
Dr Su-Ling Emin, who opened the coffee shop in St Margaret's Green in April 2019, said: "Covid meant I was unsure about the future but it is looking better than I anticipated. We have kept wearing masks and kept our plastic screens in place to make customers feel comfortable and we have just had three cracking weeks."
Because business has picked up quicker than expected Dr Emin is now looking to take on more staff.
Praising Summertime Ipswich, Councillor Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "It it just really nice to have an event back on at the Waterfront again.
"It is not the normal Maritime event we have, it was smaller, but there was a really good music stage and its was great to see families out and about enjoying themselves.
"We've worked really hard with local businesses down there and we have tried to work with local suppliers as much as possible and people we have used before."