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'Town's beating recession'

PUBLISHED: 15:07 28 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:10 23 August 2010

NATIONAL figures say the UK is still in recession but that has not deterred business owners investing in the town centre. Women s clothes store For Girly s has moved to a central location in Stone Street, while in the Heritage Quarter salon, True Hair an

NATIONAL figures say the UK is still in recession but that has not deterred business owners investing in the town centre.

Women's clothes store For Girly's has moved to a central location in Stone Street, while in the Heritage Quarter salon, True Hair and Beauty has expanded to take over a neighbouring business.

Gravesham mayor Bronwen McGarrity says this alongside plans to regenerate the town shows Gravesham's economy is picking up.

She said: "St Georges have now rented out every shop and in Thamesgate practically all of their units are rented out. I am positive the town is definitely recovering.

"Once we get the pontoon and people come off the pier and up into the town we will have even more visitors."

For Girly's was set up by Tracey Barker in 1996 in Stone Street and after moving out from the centre to join up with a menswear store, she has now returned to capitalise on growing sales.

She said: "Things were slow for a while, and certainly people are more aware of what they are spending now, but I am very confident things are picking up.

Her views were shared by True Hair and Beauty owner Phil Hales, who said: "We started with only three members of staff and are now up to eight if that is any indicator of how the business has grown.

Speaking about his decision to expand in the heart of the recession, he confessed it had felt like a risk, but one he is sure will pay off.

"We had to do it, with hindsight. If we hadn't chosen to expand we could have been looking at real problems.

Mayor Bronwen McGarrity was full of praise for the two independent stores in looking to succeed during this period.

She said: "I have known Tracey for a long time so I am delighted to see her business going so well.

"I actually used to work next door to True Hair and Beauty when it was a bakery in the 50s and it is nice to see a shop that is obviously popular growing."

nicholas.hitchens@archant.co.uk

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