Middle Street – bucking the trend

It’s the street that Brixham forgot – and now it’s bucking the high street shopping trend in some style. At a time when retail giants such as House of Fraser and Poundland are struggling, a row of independent shops run by dedicated specialists is doing very nicely thank you. Tourists and day-trippers love the shops in Middle Street which range from art galleries and an estate agent to a beauty salon and a chocolatier. Now the battle is on to remind the locals what a treat it is.

Andrea Carless of the award-winning Maison et Vie interiors and lifestyle store said: It’s almost as if the people who live in Brixham have forgotten about Middle Street. Something really good is happening here. People have got into the habit of getting into their cars and going elsewhere but this is under their noses. We’re all local people, we’re all independent shops and we’re really passionate about it.”

Middle Street is now being compared to the famous Bishopthorpe Road in York which is heralded as one of the best high streets in the country. With artisan bakery 5 Doors Up and cheese and wine deli Taste being the latest openings, Middle Street is garnering a reputation as the ‘cool street’ in Brixham.

Places to eat include The Curious Kitchen, and Port Espresso coffee shop. Chocolate shop Chocella opened it’s doors last year and another recent opening is Flotsam 50 an official Annie Sloan paint stockist.

Business Owners formed their own traders group, clubbing together to fund Christmas lights and floral displays with support from Brixham Chamber and Brixham Town Council.

Andrea added: “With most people shopping for essentials online these days, the high street has to change and adapt to become more of a leisure activity – shopping for pleasure and enjoying a day or afternoon out. As we are all small businesses, we can give great customer service with a real community feel. We have had people from all over the bay totally bowled over by what has happened on Middle Street – they can’t believe Brixham has become so cool.”

When Andrea and partner Jamie opened Maison et Vie two years ago there were empty shops on Middle Street. They have now been taken as part of the thriving landscape.

“It’s all about working together as a whole street and trying to improve the town,” said Andrea. ‘There is something amazing happening in Brixham.”

Original story in the Herald Express
Reproduced by kind permission of author/publisher