PUBLISHED: 12:09 07 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:57 20 February 2013
Just six miles from Exeter, Crediton is fast becoming a shopper's haven. From traditional stalwarts to trendy newcomers, Alexandra Richards meets some of the people behind this thriving market town.
Just six miles from Exeter, Crediton is fast becoming a shoppers haven. From traditional stalwarts to trendy newcomers, Alexandra Richards meets some of the people behind this thriving market town.
The Ivory Secret
Eleanor and Liz Rafferty
For a bride-to-be who wants something a little bit different, newcomer The Ivory Secret is a goldmine. The business offers a half couture service where clients can peruse the standard-sized wedding dresses from three designers Kula Tsurdiu, Charlotte Balbier and Eleanor herself and once selected, Eleanor and Liz will tailor the gown to fit perfectly. Eleanor also offers a completely bespoke service under her own label and her textile background means each of her designs is beautifully embellished to the brides specifications. Eleanors creativity is a talking point for passers by; she changes the window display every Tuesday. Its great as I hear people chatting about it as they walk past, but I have created a lot more work for myself! Eleanor and Liz love helping brides-to-be find their perfect wedding gown, and the boutiques intimate setting is great for a girly gathering, with tea and cupcakes on offer to make the experience even more special.
2 High Street, www.theivorysecret.co.uk
Jessica Lee and Jim Thatcher
Secondhand bookshop Once Read is another recent addition to the High Street, and owners Jim and Jessica are effusive in their praise for their supportive townsfolk. Its wonderful to see Crediton getting on its feet again, says Jim, the new wave of independent, specialist businesses have made a real difference to the town and the locals have been so helpful. To return the favour, Jim and Jessica donate a box of books to the local Lions Club once a week. They often give free books to children to encourage them to read in the traditional way, and they have adopted a read and return policy for those who ask. As avid readers themselves, Jim and Jessica are keen to help people find what theyre looking for, and provide many out-of-print publications to delighted customers. Apart from a cookery book, their desert island reads would be Pride and Prejudice for Jessica and Something about the Navy for Jim!
4 High Street, 01363 773365
Crediton Coffee Company
Andrew, Carole and Daniel Webb
Pioneering a new approach to coffee drinking in Devon, the family-run Crediton Coffee Company is shortening the distance between the farm and your cup. They only sell speciality coffee, which is qualified by an international scoring system and represents the top 2% of the worlds coffee produce. Not only do the Webbs offer these superior beans to buy, but they are the only coffee house in the county to do their own roasting in-store. Instead of selling pre-ground coffee, the Webbs encourage their customers to grind their beans as it produces a fresher taste, with each bag displaying the country, the name of the farmer and other information to show you where your coffee originated. Owner Andrew had not planned a caf-style set up, but the popularity ensured that tables and chairs soon multiplied, and now it is a popular haunt for discerning townsfolk. Andrews son, Daniel, mans the shop, where he loves teaching customers about the coffee. Its like a geography and chemistry lesson rolled into one!
1 Market Square, Market Street, www.creditoncoffee.co.uk
Tracie Valentine and Wendy Denford
Treloars bubbly owners Wendy and Tracie have a wealth of fantastic stories to tell while they keep their customers well-fed. The delis beautifully presented mouth-watering selection of local and imported goods is a foodie heaven, and Tracie and Wendys homemade pts, quiches and pasties are the regular sell-outs. The pair also provide a thriving catering and hamper business outside the delicatessen, and have fed many famous names at glittering events, who they manage to keep relatively tight-lipped about afterwards! (We discovered that they count George Michael amongst their fans: I put my mobile number on his hamper, just in case! laughs Wendy). Tracie and Wendy are happy to source new products when asked, and they love promoting Devon produce to their loyal customers. We left clutching a slab of lemon drizzle cake, and their reputation for unbeatable home-made delicacies is well-deserved!
38 High Street, www.treloars-deli.co.uk
Musgrave Bickford Antiques
Dennis and Sheila Bickford
Antique clock specialists Dennis and Sheila have been based in Crediton for over 20 years, and they insist they no longer notice the noise from the dozens of timepieces in their shop. We dont hear the ticking or the striking, but we do notice it when theyre not working! The couple are passionate about horology and insist they are constantly learning about their trade as every clock we see is different. In a time of mass-production, Sheila and Dennis believe the enduring appeal of the pieces will keep horology going forever. People will always buy beautiful clocks as an investment but the problem they foresee is the lack of young people learning the trade. Its a real art form and its impossible to learn in five minutes, so any budding horologists should get in touch as the couples wealth of knowledge is an inspiration.
15 East Street, www.musgravebickfordantiques.co.uk.
Ophelia Dyer and Michelle Carr
After spotting a gap for glamour in Creditons retail market, friends Michelle and Phei opened their recession-defying boutique last August. I do everything at 90 miles per hour says Michelle, Phei acts as my much-needed brakes! The stylish pair make a great team and have an eye for hot trends and traditional wardrobe staples. The reaction to the boutique has been very positive - women in and around Crediton love that they dont have to go to Exeter to find quality fashion anymore. Michelle and Phei buy with their loyal clients in mind, many of whom now make a trip to Kathea from all over the south of England at the start of each season. The pair love providing good old-fashioned customer service; shoppers at Kathea can relax on locally sourced vintage furniture and try on clothes in impeccably decorated changing rooms. Described by one client as like stepping off Crediton High Street into a boutique in Kensington, this stylish gem offers a chic setting, expert advice, a wonderful selection of clothing and (if you ask for it) all the latest celebrity gossip from Phei!
18 High Street, www.katheaboutique.co.uk.