Salcombe Seaside Shopping
10:11 16 May 2011
Anna Turns meets some of the shop owners and craftsmen unique to Salcombe, Devon
In a town known for its seaside chic, Salcombe shop owners work hard to retain its individual charm away from the generic high street. Tucked away down side streets, across the water, or in workshops on Island Street, there are still many unique businesses to discover that have found their own niche in a competitive and very seasonal marketplace. Above all, the business owners enthusiasm for their specific trade is what ensures customers receive the personal touch and something special from Salcombe.
Dena Login has lived in Salcombe for 19 years and has always had a passion for beautiful fabrics and making a home look fabulous with tailor-made finishing touches. For the past 12 years she has owned Shipwrights, a gift shop which incorporates the towns post office. As Dena explains, This is a business that can sustain itself through the quieter winters as well as during the holiday season. Denas shop is jam-packed with carefully chosen nautical gifts and gorgeous homewares in keeping with the popular New England look.
Everyone loves buying a piece of Salcombe to take home with them, she says, and recently I have developed my own locally produced range of oilcloth bag designs, inspired by the Salcombe estuary, which have been flying out the door. Dena works with two upholsterers based in South Milton who put together her designs for the Smalls Cove, Mill Bay and Sunny Cove collections of shoulder bags, welly bags and aprons.
Its not all rosy though. Independent shops in Salcombe are struggling with increasing business rates, and smaller shops just cant compete with chain stores, says Dena. If all the independent shops go, Salcombe would just become like any other high street.
Dena juggles family life (she has three children), her interiors business and shop, plus she trained as a first responder three years ago. We can get to an incident within minutes, often much faster than an ambulance, so this community service really does save lives, explains Dena who has attended numerous call-outs in the area.
Shipwrights Gift Store. 01548 842536, salcombeinteriors.co.uk
Suzanne Harris, Peter and Angela Cater
Cranchs Sweet Shop has been selling old-fashioned, traditional, retro-sweets since 1869, packaged in distinctive pink-and-white striped paper bags.
Peter runs the sweet shop, which the family took over 30 years ago, and they have had a second branch in Totnes for the past 20 years. Eight years ago we took over Cranchs Pantry next to the sweet shop, which is still a corner shop really, says Angela, Peters wife, who explains that Cranchs is very much a family-run business, involving their children and Angelas sister too.
Some visitors might who come in looking for a newspaper are always surprised when I suggest going to the paper shop down the road!"They expect everything to be under one roof. We do get asked for some weird things and we do normally stock them! says Angela. From harissa paste, tamarind and unusual herbs... we often surprise customers when we say we have them.
Angelas sister, Suzanne Harris, now runs her flower business through Cranchs, while her daughter, Louise, is developing Cranchs website where you can buy all sorts of sweet goodies online.
Cranchs Sweet Shop and Pantry, Fore Street. 01548 843493, cranchs-sweetshop.co.uk
Owner of Stones Boatyard and Stones Marine Timber, Tristan Stone has always lived in the beautiful village of East Portlemouth, on the Salcombe estuary. Almost seven years ago, he started up his own boatyard, with a barn purpose-built for storing wooden boats. It is now full of beautiful Salcombe yawls and other wooden boats.
My father was in the marine industry from the age of 15, so I guess it was always in my blood, and now we look after about 60 wooden boats, including over half the current fleet of Salcombe yawls.
Stones Boatyard employs four staff who repair and restore boats alongside Tristan, and provide a launch and recovery service for customers. Currently under construction is an 18ft clinker motor launch, to be launched this month.
Tristans father, Jim, now lives in Vancouver, and together they import timber for the marine industry from Canada to Salcombe. We are now the largest supplier of Sitka spruce in Europe, supplying numerous other boatyards with various types of wood for decking classic yachts, making masts, and making pilot gig oars.
So, is traditional wooden boatbuilding becoming a lost craft? Tristan doesnt think so. We have a full order book, and to me traditional boatbuilding seems to be coming back into fashion.
Stones Boatyard, East Portlemouth. 01548 844122, stonesboatyard.co.uk
Mo Logan and her husband, Martin, have lived in this town for the past 16 years. After running their busy antiques business from their shop in Ashburton for 15 years, last year they moved it closer to home. Down a side street in Russell Court, just off Salcombes busy Fore Street, Mos shop is an eclectic mix of less formal items rather than old-fashioned antiques.
Her shop is bright and breezy with a modern look to it. We tend to sell more decorative items than investment items, she explains. For example, chintzy cushions which give a nice look to interior design. Often off-peak times are busier for us because our customers like having time to browse away from the hustle and bustle when the town is not so heaving.
Salcombe is not just all clothes shops. It has a great to have a mixture of businesses and shops, she says. We do have a boat to enjoy the estuary but we also just love the town itself.
Mo Logan Antiques, Russell Court, Fore Street. 01548 844515
For the past five years, Andrew Arthur has been making bespoke wardrobes and other items at his woodwork studio on Island Street. The work I produce are all one-off pieces, says Andrew. People usually come to me because what you can buy out there mass-produced doesnt actually fit their requirements.
While Andrew worked as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy for 17 years, woodturning and cabinet-making developed as a hobby. My father was always a very keen cabinet-maker, and I helped him out in the garage when I was a child, explains Andrew. When I started sailing, I really got into woodwork, for the wrong reasons really, because I kept on pranging the boat! So I had to learn how to mend the wood.
Andrew trained with David Charlesworth in Hartland principally to put the finesse in the design and actual making of the joints.
Andrew first came to Salcombe when he was six months old and moved there permanently in 2000. As an active member of the RNLI Salcombe lifeboat crew since 2003 and currently Deputy Launch Authority and Treasurer, he says You can never plan for it you never know when the pagers might go off.
Luckily its not too far to run from Andrews workshop to the lifeboat station.
AWA Fine Furniture, Island Street. 01548 844994,awa.offquaypublications.co.uk