Shoppers urged to celebrate Bodmin's 'personal service'
BODMIN'S independent retailers have hit back at criticism of the high street, insisting that many of the town's small businesses are bucking the national trend.
Bodmin Sports Shop's Laura Galvin said she often hears people complaining about the state of Fore Street but maintains that there is a unique community spirit in the town.
"Bodmin isn't booming, nobody is saying that, but in the face of supermarket and internet competition, and despite the lack of external investment, the high street here is doing all right," Mrs Galvin said.
She said the town will never be able to compete with Plymouth or Truro in terms of national retail variety and believes it should, therefore, play to its strengths.
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"The town is unique in the sense of the community spirit that exists and the traders' desire to keep the high street alive," she said.
"The traders are fighting back and working hard to support one another.
"Bodmin is a relatively small place and you see the same people walking along the high street, and the small traders offer them personal service and know their customers very well."
Mrs Galvin isn't denying that the high street needs a degree of investment, but insists that major change isn't always an effective solution.
"Although St Austell has had the huge external investment, the new shopping centre always looks empty, whereas the high street here always looks busy.
"We do need some new shops, especially clothing for boys and men, but most of the things that a person needs can be found here."
Balu Madhvani, who owns Jai the Jeweller on Honey Street, said that local traders are working hard to improve the town.
"Times are hard, but we've all worked hard to improve the town; if you come down Honey Street you can see examples of that," Mr Madhvani said.
"There's nothing wrong with Bodmin, and it's unique in the sense of the personal service offered by independents.
"I'm celebrating my 30th anniversary here on the high street in November and we've been through about four recessions, but if you provide a good service you can survive. What makes us different is that we aren't cloned businesses."
Mrs Galvin stated that it isn't just the town's personal service that is unique, but also some of the products available.
"I sell things in the sports shop here that can't be bought online, and it's the same with the butchers," she said.
"The meat in there isn't available in the supermarket, and some of the clothes Alison Chapman sells in Moods on Honey Street can't be purchased online.
"The town as a whole needs to celebrate being different and stick together."