WITH three late night shopping success stories, Newton Abbot traders enjoyed a bumper run-up to Christmas.
A Victorian evening and a lantern parade with more than 200 children taking part helped set up a sparkling Christmas of trading.
Ashford Fruit and Veg described the festive period as ‘chaos’ when the Mid-Devon Advertiser swung by the team, who were wrapped up completing Christmas orders.
Elsewhere in the town too, shopkeepers were kept busy.
‘We have been much busier than we thought we would be given we only opened four weeks ago’ said Kris of The Plot Deli.
‘Everyone around here is really nice and we have a lot of regulars now too’ he added.
An anxiety does, however, persist over the future of Newton Abbot’s indoor market as Steve, who has been helping out in the historic venue for some six years, articulated.
‘I don’t know what the future of this place is, it would be a shame if it did disappear completely’ Steve said.
‘I mean even now you get, especially in the summer, coaches coming down from Wales and such places and the coach parties absolutely love this place.
‘I think, heaven forbid, if I was king of the universe I would retain it as it is but have food stalls along one side’ he added.
‘Newton Abbot really had its best foot forward over the festive period,’ says Sally Henley, the town development manager, ‘And we had three really super Christmas late night shopping events.
It was fantastic to be able to put on all three events this year and the Victorian evening, the lantern parade and the mayor’s carol service went very well and were extremely well attended.
‘I think sitting at home with a screen is nothing like the real thing of going out shopping and I think people have fallen back in love with the experience of choosing gifts from shops.
‘Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Christmas events and I look forward to more town centre events next year.’
David Austin, owner of Austins Stores, said: ‘Business has been really good.
‘We had a fantastic December. It’s been quite beyond our best expectations so we’re really encouraged. This is great for us and great for the town.
‘This is probably the first Christmas where people have felt properly comfortable after Covid, last year I think that there was still some nervousness. But now everything’s coming alive again. Our coffee shop is so busy compared to last year which makes me happy, it’s like a social hub with people meeting and spending time together, talking and being more close.
'I think the other factor is this desire to shop locally and independent. In our case, we get a fantastic feeling of being a surviving department store and we’re getting people shopping with us from miles around as well as our wonderful local customers, so we appreciate our customers greatly, but we get the feeling that our customers appreciate us as well.
‘As always, I’d like to thank our customers, because we do value them beyond measure.
‘We’d be nothing without their loyalty. Thank you for shopping with us, always.’
At Phoenix Sound, proprietors Roger Cox and Marsha Miles were equally grateful for the local support.
Roger said: ‘It’s been good, busy and well supported. It’s been right on the button, which is a relief because with the cost of living we didn’t know how trade was going to go.
‘We’ve had the shop now for 20 years, and the person before us also had it for 20 years, so it’s nice to see that the town continues to embrace us. We’ve also had some live gigs, which gets things going on Saturday.
‘Thanks to the local community for allowing us to continue to do what we love.’