By Beth Doherty
Twitter:@bethdmedia / @new_valleynews
Instagram: @bethdohertymedia / @newvalleynews

We don’t need to tell you 2020 has been an unprecedented year. While many things have changed, times of great uncertainty also brought about new ideas, innovations, and inventions.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and two lockdowns to struggle through, South Wiltshire and North Dorset continues to attract new businesses.

Many have struggled, but new types of businesses have flourished.

There has been plenty of determination, skill, and kindness coming from local independents. So, despite a year like no other, here are the businesses new to you in 2020.

In Salisbury, the range of new independents opening across the city centre includes:
• Pick Up Café, Butcher Row
• Nole Pizza, Butcher Row
• Studio 15, Milford Street for hair beauty and sunbeds
• No 65 Lashes, Hair & Beauty, Castle Street
• Lah Koh, Fisherton Street for healthy hotpots, salads and soups
• Sonner Toys, Old George Mall
• Bond Dental Clinic,
Castle Street
• Gringos Peri Peri, Castle Street

Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury BID, said: “The appearance of so many new names on our streets proves, despite one of the toughest years in memory for businesses, there is reason to be optimistic. Salisbury is a beautiful city and offers many opportunities for business owners. It has been a dark year but we see the light at the end of the tunnel and are ready for a thriving 2021.”

With the new businesses, Salisbury has a lower retail vacancy rate (10.6%) than both the South West average (12.8%) and the UK average (11.3%).

“Town and city centres have been changing and this change has been accelerated by the pandemic. I believe that, in the future, we will still have a vibrant and thriving city centre, but the mix of occupiers will change as we see more services offered on the High Street rather than just goods to buy.

“I think we will see a resurgence of more independent individual shops offering something more unique to buy rather than so many big chain store brands. We find people are endlessly entrepreneurial and are approached everyday by potential tenants with new ideas. Let’s hope that optimism continues into 2021,” said Dean Speer, Partner of Myddelton & Major and Vice Chair of Salisbury BID.

New Valley News spoke to some of the new business owners of 2020 to hear their hopes for the new year.

Shuan Wu, 23 years old, opened Lah Koh in Salisbury, taking over the premises from his father to keep their family business going in the city.

“Having recently opened our dine-in area, we are excited to offer the full experience at Lah Koh! We serve freshly-made salads, rice bowls, cakes and coffee, and we can’t wait for people to try our food.

“We are offering everyone 50% off their first click and collect order. Details are on our website and we can’t wait to see you soon!”

At home, young entrepreneurs in Salisbury took on big ideas. Gaby, also aged 23, launched her gift business The Wanderlust Wildflowers.

“My hopes for my business going into 2021 would be that it continues to grow with the year. I hope people continue to shop small and local as they have done in 2020.

“It’s been a tough year, but it has brought out the best in so many things. I hope communities continue to support each other, and from there my business will have the support it needs to continue to grow!”

The year provided Jess Kay, owner of Winged Hare, the opportunity to turn her passion into a Salisbury business.
“It has been a completely bonkers year but (spending) all the time at home sparked my creativity and now I’m addicted to my sewing machine.

“I have realised engaging the creative side of my brain is crucial to my happiness. Making headbands that other people enjoy wearing has proved to be a win-win. I’m hoping 2021 will see a return to normal but with a twist. I hope I can really push my business forward and maybe even see my pieces stocked in some of the beautiful shops Salisbury has to offer,” said Jess.

In Wilton, delivery businesses have flourished. The Guild has undergone a great change to showcase many new local businesses. At The Guild, Rose Currens (pictured right) opened her first art gallery, The Archive.

“I’m so excited to be part of The Guild and the changes happening in Wilton, I look forward to hosting events and artist’s exhibitions in a safe way with the peace of mind the coming year will bring.

“The world is facing challenges, but I’m part of a collective of makers and doers that make anything seem possible. I’m so excited to support artists both local and international and continue to pair clients with their dream artwork.”

Wilton start-ups began out of lockdown inspiration. Canned Club and Dished by Hayley adapted the dining experience, making dining in, the new eating out.

“In 2020, we saw real strength in the local community. After a challenging year, I have no doubt that’s one of the things we would all like to see continue into 2021. I hope even more local businesses find new ways to work together, collaborations which bring something exciting to our local community. It’s certainly a goal we have set ourselves,” said Emily Pepper, founder of Canned Club.

“In 2021 I’d like to expand the business to support people celebrating larger events where we can really showcase the beauty of our platters. I’m hopeful that people can begin to celebrate safely in 2021, and I want to bring our style to every party!

“Going forward into the new year, approaching six months of running the business, I’d like to build up to a point where we are sustained by local suppliers as much as possible,” said Haley Alton, (pictured top left) owner of Dished By Hayley.

In Downtown, lockdown baking became a new business for mother and daughter duo Louisa and Emma Parry who opened Stable & Wick bakery.

“2020 has been such a whirlwind but the local support and sense of community has carried us through! In 2021 we want to continue to evolve and grow with our customers, building up the farm shop with more amazing local produce and giftware.

“With the bakery, we will continue adding more yummy treats. Watch this space for more, and a big thank you to every single person who has stepped through the door this year, we are so grateful,” said Louisa.

On Shaftesbury High Street, Stephanie and Christopher Dowthwaite opened Golden Snowdrop.

“We are optimistic about 2021! We hope to grow and adapt and we are looking forward to some exciting plans in the new year. We always planned to open a shop, so when the building became available, we took the opportunity. We are looking forward to being established for the new year.”

In Warminster, Iris and Olive, a luxury gift shop ,opened in July after owner Carlee Towl left the Army to open the business.

“In 2021, we hope to expand our range and improve our online gift box range. We also hope we can continue to grow into the community and continue to champion local products,” said Carlee.

In Amesbury, Jim Eames launched his new business Jim Eames dog training.

“Moving house and starting a business the day before the government announced lockdown in March was not the start I was hoping for. However, once the initial lockdown was relaxed, I was able to start one-to-one lessons. After the second lockdown was relaxed, I was able to start group sessions, ensuring no more than five to a group with growing success.

“It has been hard, though, and it has taken longer than I had originally hoped. We are all now looking forward to 2021, and hopefully, it is a prosperous year for everyone!”

Happy New Year