18 August 2022

Experience Salisbury celebrates a city of independents

This week, BBC One’s Interior Design Masters shone a light on some of Salisbury’s independent businesses. Now, Experience Salisbury is showcasing some more of the city’s indies.

The latest episode of Interior Design Maters (which aired on 30th March 2022) was filmed in Salisbury featured three indie shops: Casa Fina, Annie’s Just Jane and Brides by Victoria.

According to Experience Salisbury, there are over 200 independent businesses in the city centre offering the highest quality products and services. From specialist retail shops to award-winning family-run restaurants, the diverse range of independent businesses proudly offer an array of products and services, specialist expert knowledge, value for money and exceptional customer service.

In July 2021, Salisbury was named the top Bounce-back City in the Ipsos Mori Retail Recovery Index and this has been reinforced by the opening of over 20 new operators across 2021. The share of total units occupied by independents is growing and has led to Salisbury’s ambition to become the UK’s leading ‘City of Independents’.

According to Experience Salisbury, the city is performing significantly better than the rest of the UK when it comes to ’empty units’ with less than 10% unoccupied compared to a UK average of almost 12% (January 2022), with demand continuing to remain strong.

Furthermore, the UK Government paper ‘Build Back Better High Streets’ champions new and innovative uses and we have seen great evidence of this in Salisbury with new openings ranging from a contemporary gallery to a pet shop and co-working space.

In the city, regional operators such as Wilding, who source locally, have also replaced larger national chains such as Cafe Rouge. Independent retail brings originality and personality to our high streets and provides distinctiveness and a sense of place.

The latest independent addition to the city centre is Sips. The cosy craft and world beer bar is due to open in The Maltings today (31st March 2022). It joins the new well-being sanctuary, Yoga Stuff, which opened last week, also in The Maltings. Further to this, there’s positive news for Bohemia which has just moved into new, bigger premises at the Poultry Cross.

Bohemia owner, Robbie Burrus said that’s all down to Salisbury’s offer and the people here, “It’s a fantastic city with so much heritage and history. I had such a good reaction from the customers when I was in the High Street location that I wanted to expand the range. I’ve got a great clientele base now and, in some ways, they pushed me in this new direction. They are the ones that wanted me to add more to the Bohemia brand. They’re an inspiration and I value them very much.”​

There’s more good news for The Hair Extension Cave which will also be moving to new, larger premises at the Poultry Cross in the next few weeks.

Artisan Wine and Spirit Co. only opened its doors in May 2021 but has already won a top national award. They’ve also begun hosting popular events, collaborating successfully with other local businesses.

Co-owner of Artisan, Elizabeth Coombes, said, “We’re not even one year old yet and have just won national “Newcomer of the Year” at the Drinks Retailing Awards which makes us officially the “best new wine shop in the UK” and that has so much do with the incredible support we’ve received from our city since the day we opened last May.

“There is a real thirst in Salisbury for local indie businesses like us and we love collaborating with others to bring new and exciting events to the city centre. We love Salisbury and we honestly feel like it’s welcomed us with open arms.”

A spokesperson for Experience Salisbury said, “In Salisbury, we champion our independents. We think everyone should know how amazing they are! To continue the celebrations, Salisbury will once again be marking Independents Week in July. Plus, businesses will be able to get involved in upcoming city-wide events like Taste Salisbury and a Flower Festival Trail. As a city, we want to make sure everyone is included.”

Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury BID, commented, “The last few years have been tough for everyone, including businesses, but Salisbury has remained resilient throughout a global pandemic and Interior Design Masters shows just that.

“In 2021, the city was named in the top ten bounce-back cities by Ipsos MORI and new business openings have helped Salisbury buck the trend when it comes to retail vacancy rates, with the latest figures showing we are below the regional and national average.

“The future is bright. With more renewal, growth and original events forecast for 2022, Salisbury is a prime location for entrepreneurs looking for a new business base. Hurry though, before all the units are gone!”

Experience Salisbury is encouraging more entrepreneurs to choose our beautiful city as their home. Head to the Experience Salisbury website for more information on how to make the most of the opportunities.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty