Situated right on the border between Wales and England, Monmouth is a tourist hotspot – a historical town surrounded by rolling hills and thick woodland.

At its heart is Monnow Street, the town’s main shopping street, and shopkeepers here are steadfast in their belief that it takes character and heart to make a successful business.

David Tovey is one of those shopkeepers.

Walk into his shop, MonTeas, and you will be greeted by a wonderful blend of fragrances from the many different types of tea on offer.

Mr Tovey opened MonTeas in 2012 after longing personally for a better-tasting hot drink.

“I wanted to drink something other than coffee and I remembered having loose-leaf tea when I was younger.

“I couldn’t find what I was looking for out there unless it was in the supermarkets, and then it wasn’t very good quality.

“A lot of people that come in are looking for a better quality experience in drinking their tea.

“They’ve had loose-leaf tea and realised it is a much better quality, more enjoyable cuppa.

“I’ve always tried to make shopping an event for my customers, so that they have a pleasant experience when they walk in through the front door.

“I’m trying to encompass what others have said about making the high street survive.

“So many people say they love coming to Monmouth because of the independent shops, where they can get something different.”

A short walk across the road from MonTeas is Marches Delicatessan, owned by Tom Lewis.

“We specialise in local artisan produce from around the Marches region, predominantly stuff from Wales”, Mr Lewis said.

“Where we can we try to go local, so we’ve got cheeses, charcuterie, chocolate, beer, coffee and bread.

“For us almost everything we sell is made locally. Not buying locally has a knock-on effect on other industries.

“You can go elsewhere and find things for cheaper prices in the supermarket, but it won’t be as nice and it won’t have been made in the traditional way.

“Supporting local businesses means you’re helping the local economy.”

Slightly further up the street, as you head towards the Shire Hall, you will find The Rowan Tree – a charming shop selling giftware and homeware.

Roger and Nicki Bateson have been running the shop for the last 16 years.

“Our whole approach has always been quality items at affordable prices”, Mr Bateson said.

“We want to give people something that’s interesting, that they’re not going to find in every other shop.

“It’s a good place to buy birthday presents and wedding presents – we do some nice slate cheeseboards and a range of dining room decorations.

They’re the sort of things that are lovely to have when you’re hosting a party.”

“It’s important to shop locally to keep the town interesting, so it’s not all the same chain stores”, Mr Bateson said.

“It’s more of an eclectic mix here.”