Business booming despite loss of big namesBy Laura Herbert
September 06, 2012
Business is booming in Wokingham town centre, despite the loss of two major retailers this year.
During the August Bank Holiday weekend three independent traders, Oslar Coffee, MishyBoo Boutique and Sanpa, opened their doors.
Oslar Coffee in Market Place, run by Jason Oslar from Arborfield, was packed with customers when it launched on Saturday, August 25.
He said: “We had a queue outside the door, it has been really good. It is now just a case of letting everything settle down.”
Mr Oslar, 39, gave up his career as an IT manager to realise his dream of running his own coffee shop.
He added: “I have had a coffee passion for around 10 years and this has been a dream of mine for a long time.
“I wanted to open my own coffee shop so I went to the London School of Coffee to train and it has been quite a journey.
“I think it nice to have an independent shop here. People are saying there are lots of coffee shops in Wokingham but some of the others are cafés.”
Accountant Thelma Reeves decided to set up clothing store MishyBoo Boutique in Peach Street.
Mrs Reeves, who opened her first shop on Saturday, August 25, said: “I have been trying to do something different and have been testing the market to get an idea of what would work.
“I thought Wokingham needed something like this – I don’t think chains are suitable for Wokingham.”
Spanish farm shop Sanpa launched in Peach Street.
Fashion store Peacocks left the town in February this year after it was sold out of administration to Edinburgh Wool Mill.
The store in Market Place has since been transformed into a booming indoor market running five days a week.
Last month, it was announced Dorothy Perkins and Burton would also leave the town centre in October as staff claim the chain was unable to negotiate its rent for a refurbishment and decided to end the lease when no agreement could be reached with the landlord.
But the borough council believes the move is in line with parent company Arcadia’s property strategy announced last November to close around 10 per cent of its stores due to a 38 per cent fall in annual profits.
The owners of Baranda, in Peach Street, and Tajmahal, in Denmark Street, unveiled a new Indian eatery on Tuesday, August 28. Mayor of the borough Councillor Bob Wyatt and town mayor Cllr Peter Lucey were among guests at Boishakhi’s opening in Peach Street.
Business partner Farook Bhuiya said: “It was a brilliant night. We had two sittings of customers and both were full up.”
Tattooists Tom Bazely and Jay Norwell have enjoyed huge success since opening, Electric Tattoo Company, in Broad Street six weeks ago.
Mr Bazely said: “It has been really good. We have been quite busy so it is going well. We focus on custom tattoos and there seems to be quite a high demand in Wokingham.”