SLOUGH is one of the top towns for independent retailers, a recent study has shown.

Revealed by Bionic, research found that the town is ranked 14th in the UK as one of the best places for small business owners.

There has been a significant increase in independent retailers over the past five years.

And Bionic states more than 800,000 new business registrations have been made since 2018/19.

This represents a 3.5% increase in growth, but things slowed down since the start of the pandemic.

Slough BID manager Clarissa Parker said: “The opportunities within Slough are phenomenal, we’ve got so many different types of independent retailers.

“We have various locations available and I know the shopping centre is always open to working with new businesses.

“Slough is an up-and-coming town, it’s vibrant and the economy is strong.”

Rated just below Peterborough, Slough saw 79.6 business start ups per 10,000 in 2019, according to Bionic.

And 43.5% of retailers had a five-year survival rate, with 91.3% of small active businesses in the town.

One independent business that’s been trading for 30 years on the town’s high street is Slough’s jacket potato stand.

Jane Hughes, who runs the stall with her brother Jack Hughes, explained what it’s been like running the business.

She said: “The people of Slough are always very nice to us and we always get lovely individuals coming here.

“Over the years business has dropped quite a lot but lots of people still come here to see us.”

Royal Borough Observer: Slough's Jacket Potatoes has been trading for 30 years on Slough high street. Picture: Jane HughesSlough's Jacket Potatoes has been trading for 30 years on Slough high street. Picture: Jane Hughes

Miss Hughes added she’s enjoyed working for herself and interacting with residents on the high street.

“There’s always something different going on here,” she said.

“I like to watch the people go by in the town and I’ve constantly got someone coming up and having a chat with us.”

She explained the pandemic has proved a struggle for the business.

And the statistics show Slough’s unemployment rate, in November 2020, sits high compared to the rest of the list at 8.6%.

The amount of new businesses as a proportion of total active businesses in 2019 was 15.8%, and 11.6% of retailers had closed.

The potato stand largely relies on office workers visiting on their lunch breaks.

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And Miss Hughes stressed these employees should go back into the office soon so their business can get back on track after a difficult two years.

She added: “We have been struggling since the start of the pandemic, and last year we had a nice lady show her support for us by posting on her Instagram about our business to let others know we're here.

“For a good two weeks we got so much business thanks to her, we were made up with it to be honest.”

Despite the struggles, Miss Hughes said: “Trading here has been a pleasure, I’ve made a few friends on the high street and everyone in the town is so friendly.”

Southampton was ranked first on the list of top towns for independent retailers, followed by York, Bristol, Northampton, Swindon, and Reading in sixth.

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Mike Givens, of Buzz Gym Slough, added he is excited for the future of his business in the town.

He said: “As a family owned business we needed to be confident that Slough as a location for our gym was going to be a success.

“After some months of market research and speaking to the community we were extremely confident that Slough was exactly the location we were looking for."

Royal Borough Observer: Buzz Gym in Slough. Picture: Buzz GymBuzz Gym in Slough. Picture: Buzz Gym

He added: “We have been very impressed with how the community supported us when we opened back in 2015 and how quickly Slough is developing as place for new businesses to thrive.” 

To see the full statistics and top 20 list, visit: https://bionic.co.uk/blog/best-uk-cities-for-independent-businesses/