You only have to walk along Horncastle’s High Street to know how tough it is for retailers.
But it is not all gloom and doom...far from it!
People like Joanne Holderness are proving if you work hard and provide quality products then the ‘people will come... and spend’
Almost a year ago to the day, Joanne decided to leave her former shop in North Street and move to the Market Place where she opened a new fashion boutique.
She took over the former Punch House public house which had recently served as a hot tub showroom.
Joanne’s move meant bigger premises – and more expense.
It was – if you will forgive the hot tub pun – sink or swim.
Twelve months and Joanne and ‘Grace’s Boutique’ (it’s named after her young daughter) are thriving.
As Joanne prepares to celebrate her first birthday, she says: “Moving was a big decision.
“We did OK on North Street but it was very quiet.
“When the Punch House came up I knew there would be more footfall.
“I know other businesses have been struggling and a few have closed down.
“But it’s been a brilliant year or me – the busiest and best yet – and we’ve got Christmas coming up.”
There are moves afoot to stimulate interest in East Lindsey’s market towns, Horncastle included.
The people behind the initiative could do a lot worse than talk to Joanne who is so enthusiastic about the town and it’s future.
“I live in Horncastle and I love the place.
“The people are really friendly and it has a lot going for it.
“There is a lot of negativity about but I think a lot of it is unfair.
“A few of shops which have been empty have sold which has to be positive,” she said.
Joanne has been nominated for an award for her friendly service to people over the age of 50.
Her customers, though, are from all age groups.
Her future looks secure. She has signed a 10-year lease on the premises.
And the secret to her success? She said: “Offering a friendly welcome, regularly changing the stock and charging a fair price.”
She recently employed a business manager, Bronya, and says an on-line shopping site – launched in conjunction with the boutique – is also doing ‘very well.’
Joanne adds: “I can’t thank my regular customers enough and my family for all their love and support over the years. Everyone has been brilliant.”