This street has seen new businesses open and several win awards despite an array of store closures across the county amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Stert Street, in Abingdon, has been a parcel of growth and recognition over the past year, as new businesses such as Lottie’s Bakeaway, Cowshed Drinks and The Shed have all opened their doors.

Other businesses, like Utopia Beautique and Mostly Books have received a torrent of accolades since opening in the last 20 years.

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The Abingdon Herald spoke with some of the shop owners on Stert Street to find out why they think Stert Street is a winning location.

Siobhan Sargeant, owner of The Shed, which sells a slew of repurposed and upcycled home and garden items, said: “I took redundancy from my previous employer, and the redundancy money paid to open The Shed.

“I opened the store in February last year. There was a huge storm on the day but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

“From then, it’s just taken off. It’s gone from strength to strength. I think it’s because it’s different, there isn’t anything like it in Abingdon.

“The customers all say that Stert Street is amazing. A little destination road. All the shop owners are lovely and we all chat, we’re like a little family.”

Charlotte Allen, who opened Lottie’s Bakeaway in January, said of opening her custom cake store on Stert Street: “There’s a lot of authentic, family-run shops on this street. With less big chains.

“I think people want to support local and small businesses. The people who come into my store say they like that my cakes are freshly baked, not bought in like most chains do.”

Nicola Atkins, owner of Utopia Beautique, a salon which has won numerous hair and beauty awards since opening in 2010, echoed Ms Sargeant’s and Mrs Allen’s sentiments: “With the last few years being so hard on everyone, and having to stay at home for so long, I think many have come to realise that small businesses are the heart of the community.

“Many people have told me they make a conscious effort to shop locally and on the high street more than they would have done pre-covid.

“It’s great to see so much support for the new businesses that have opened in the town centre.”

In addition to The Shed and Lottie’s Bakeaway, a new beer shop, The Cowshed, opened in December last year.

Stuart Fanson, who runs the business, resists calling it a micropub even though it looks like one, as most of the premises is devoted to off-sales of beer, wine, cider and spirits, with only about a dozen seats for drinkers.

The business operates in a listed building which was previously the Added Ingredients delicatessen.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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