TOWN Crier Peter Powell was on hand to officially launch the opening of new home and garden décor shop in Lymm village.
The Bird and Bay shop opening event, at the former Welsh’s Florists, was attended by local residents and business people as the ribbon was cut to reveal ‘something exciting’ and new to the village, in the form of a quirky and stylish decorative living store.
Owner, Anji Owens, is proud to offer something different to help the footfall in the village. Bird and Bay is a new venture in response to the pandemic, which radically changed many people’s outlook and direction in life. Anji had a successful career of 25 years but the impact of lockdown meant ramped up working hours of homeworking, coupled with home-schooling three children, which ultimately led Anji to reconsider her lifelong career.
She says the pandemic has driven the need for local businesses to get more creative in how they engage with customers and Anji, a Lymm resident, was conscious of the number of empty shops emerging in the last 12 months and worried for the impact on the local community and footfall in the village.
“Lockdown brought more and more people to visit the beauty of the area, but also decimated local business. Empty shops were popping up everywhere in the village and local restauranteurs were just about holding on tight,” said Anji, a former senior leader in social care.
The pressure of lockdown gave Anji that final push to do something different; “I’d never felt more determined to do something different; something new that I’m passionate about and something that could work for the village.”
She thought long and hard about types of business that might benefit the village; hospitality had really taken off locally pre-pandemic with a number of high-quality eateries establishing Lymm as a destination to eat and drink by night. But during the day, footfall had dwindled, with only a handful of small retail outlets to attract business to the village. This was a gap Anji thought, that she endeavoured to fill to help create a retail destination for the village.
The result is Bird and Bay, with its secret garden at the rear of the shop which many have already compared to the former ‘Willowpool’, fondly remembered locally as a quirky, vintage garden retail destination.
Anji is passionate about putting Lymm high street on the map, through collaborating with other businesses, local artists and the wider community.
“We are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful village, but it can only thrive with enough relevant and exciting businesses, coupled with local support from everyone in the community. It is everybody’s responsibility to invest in the village, to proactively shop local and enthusiastically support local business. It will take everybody’s collective effort to ensure the vibrancy and the buzz that the village deserves.
“We have only been trading for one week and I am already blown away by the positivity and encouragement from everyone who’s visited or commented on Social Media. What an incredible welcome and supportive vibe. Bird and Bay will continue to develop and seek everyone’s views about what they would like to see in stock. I welcome everyone to be part of that to make it a success. This feels like a very special and exciting time with a number of new businesses opening, it really feels like the buzz is back on our village high street.”
Bird and Bay is open 7 days a week as the Town Crier gave his ringing endorsement [transcript]‘Aye oh yae! Welcome to this auspicious occasion, the opening of Bird and Bay, welcome to you all and let us hope it’s another successful enterprise in the village. God save the Queen.’