Newport businesses hoping for bright future

TWO Newport traders who recently opened new premises have spoken of their optimism for the future of the city, following the announcement of a £90 million loan to the developers of Friars Walk.

Lisa Langley, a former teacher who opened Sweet William Florist on Chepstow Road in April, admitted it was a gamble opening a shop in the economic climate of early 2013.

She said: “People are careful with their money and it’s hard. There isn’t a florist until you get down towards town and so I thought we will take a gamble.

“It’s going to be slow and I’m not going to make a fortune, but people who come will come back again and again.

“It isn’t easy to set up a shop. The council could do more, there are grants available but your business has to be unique.”

Next to the florist is a hairdressers, a post office, a convenience store, a betting shop and a café, which means shoppers can do a lot on just one street.

“It is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” said Mrs Langley, who plans to start a flower school on Wednesday or Saturday afternoons.

“People were surprised, particularly other florists. There were 14 in my class and I was the only one who hadn’t opened a shop.

“Although they said it was a brave thing to do, they said you will love it. I am quite optimistic about Newport, when you think of its location it should really be the city it was 10 or 15 years ago. I think it will come back.”

Mario Masini opened his cafe, Marenghi’s Italian Coffee Shop, two doors down from the florist on Chepstow Road in mid-September.

“This place was shut for two years and was on the market, so I decided to take the challenge,” said the chef, who came to Newport in 2000 before working at Celtic Manor and Gemelli’s Restaurant.

“Sometimes I feel positive, this last week has been very quiet but then I haven’t advertised yet.

“I hope things are improving for Newport, lots of places are shutting down and people are complaining about it not being busy enough. I hope Friars Walk will boost trade.”

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