It’s our 20th Birthday in May 27th January 2016 – Posted in: News and Events – Tags: Costa Coffee, King Georges Park, Marks and Spencers, Rayleigh High Street, Squires, Subway, twentieth birthday
In May Squires will have been trading for twenty years!!!! Quite an achievement for anyone let alone two people who had never ran a business before. Add to that the changing face of Rayleigh High Street with Costa Coffee opening up alongside other private coffee shops, a wealth of Italian pizza restaurants and even a Subway opening up too the Rayleigh of today is hardly recognizable from that of 1996.
When we first looked at Rayleigh as a possible location for our vision of a business it was such a different place. There were not so many of the big boys, in fact we didn’t even have a Clintons Cards back then and I don’t even think we had New Look either, tho I’m sure I will be pulled up on this if I am wrong. There was no Card Factory nor a Marks and Spencers which is quite funny as every time some one said what we need is an M and S everyone laughed them out of the room as no way would a company such as theirs open in Rayleigh!!! How times have changed. Now we have two.
The market was in the top car park, although that is a fairly recent change and over all I think it fair to say that back then we had more small traders operating in the High Street. Whilst we have had a surge in hairdressers, opticians and nail bars, albeit that they are independent traders which is good, our high sadly resembles that of pretty much most other small towns with the same big companies muscling their way in. We have lost a small independent bakers, and a number of shops that have tried to trade but sadly not survived a sports shop, a toy shop etc. I remember a fresh fishmongers where I think Bairstow Eves is now and we have three betting shops which must be a reflection of the changes in our habits….quite literally.
Its great to see Rayleigh Fruit and Veg doing so well and the small traders like Blume and Feathering your Nest thriving too. It’s not all good news for the big boys as when we lost Woolworths, as did so many other high streets in the country, people were literally shocked. Thinking back the high street had two way traffic when we first openend and I remember the huge uproar when it was announced that Rayleigh would be changing to a one way system. As a small trader we put up with the inconvenience, the down turn in business as the high street was dug up then just as we began to recover the power companies decided to relay new gas pipes and again we had to endure pavements being dug up and customers having difficulty accessing not just our shop but many others too.
I remember the issues we had with kids in the high street on skate boards as they had no where to go so great to see the council create the skate park and exercise machines around the perimeter of King Georges Park which are used well.
There are many other changes I knew but these are the ones that came to mind as I started to write this, Wow I wonder what the next twenty years will bring.