The town of Ramsbottom has long been a popular place to visit for not just locals but also visitors who come from far and wide too.

The town is a haven for foodies, for those who want to visit the local countryside and for those who want to see the history behind the former mill town.

Recently, a couple of closures in the town like Levanter and The Chocolate Café has cast doubt on if Ramsbottom is still a viable place to own a business so we decided to go and talk to business owners for their views.

Cardtalk owner Lyndsay Nield-Siddall said: “Cardtalk has been in Ramsbottom for over 30 years, I’ve owned it for 12 of those years and thankfully the shop continues to thrive.

“Having a business in the town comes with challenges like anywhere else, it can be very stressful and loads of fun all in the same day, but I’ve always felt like part of a very warm community and I’m super proud to be one of the many very special independents on our high street.

“Of course, I can’t forget the ongoing and incredible support we have always had and continue to have from our lovely customers, they really are very special and make our job so enjoyable.

“We’ve all been through so much in the last few years, but we have supported each other through everything and I’m sure we will look after each other going forward.

“The future is bright for our beautiful town and I for one am happy to be a part of it.”

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Ramsbottom hosts many events throughout the year like the 1940s weekend, the black pudding lobbing competition and the Flying Scotsman just to name a few.

These events bring hundreds of visitors to the town and new customers to the independent businesses too.

Debbie McDermott who owns the clothing shop Velvet praised the community spirit and the events and voluntary groups who all bring a positive energy to the town.

She said: “Ramsbottom has fantastic community spirit where everyone supports everyone.

“It’s a brilliant place to come to, to visit and to live. It’s been voted the 12th best place to live and the 4th best place to retire.

“If someone asked, why should they come to Ramsbottom, I’d say it’s because we have loads of independent businesses, there’s no big players, they’re all unique independent stores.

“It’s all about people shopping locally and supporting the local businesses and we’re really lucky because we’ve got so much support from our community and from further afield too.

“Even though some places have closed, new ones are opening all the time. People want to be in Ramsbottom and it’s a really thriving town.”

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Debbie opened her shop in 2010 at a smaller unit and then moved to the current shop in 2016 and since then has gone from strength to strength.

She did say that things have been a bit quieter but factors like the weather can contribute to this.

She added: “Loads of voluntary organizations are doing amazing things in Ramsbottom like Incredible Edible, Ramsbottom Pantry, Ramsbottom Civic Pride and the rotary, the heritage society which all bring a positive energy.

“There are lots of positive things, lots of businesses that have been here a long time and lots of people who are working hard to make sure that we all survive because it’s important that we all work together to help each other.”

The loyalty of local customers who regularly shop in Ramsbottom are a big positive to local businesses.

However, the influx of food and drink places has shown that many people are willing to spend their money on these types of things.

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Kerry Khan, the owner of Hearts for Homes said: “We love Ramsbottom, and we have the coffee shop here which is doing really well.

“People are willing to spend money on coffee, cakes and brunch whereas with a gift shop, a lot of people do just browse instead which can make things a bit harder.

“In Ramsbottom, we have events like the maker’s market and the 1940s weekend and the chocolate and cheese festival which get people to come to the town and bring lots of visitors here.

“We have lots of really loyal customers but also, we have a lot of visitors who come at the weekends and visit the shop.

“We’ve had the shop for seven years and we always chat to people and the customers who have been consistently coming mean everything to us.”

Ramsbottom Councillor Gareth Staples-Jones said: "We’re expressly aware of the challenges facing business owners in Ramsbottom in 2023, whether that’s the extortionate energy rates we are all paying, the effect inflation has had on sourcing goods, or the fact people have less money in their pockets to spend.

"We are aware of those issues because we have listened to the owners of The Chocolate Café and Levanter who have had to make the hard decision to close their businesses.

"Despite the challenges we believe Ramsbottom is still the best place to live and own a business in the North West.

"We have worked hard to bring back annual events such as the Chocolate & Cheese Festival and monthly events such as the Rammy Makers Market.

"We have also kick-started a forum aiming to bring community groups and businesses together, through our new Ramsbottom Events Group.

"As a town this weekend; we have the wonderful 1940s weekend to look forward to as part of the East Lancashire Railway, The Ramsbottom Rotary Duck race, or you can pop down to see our brilliant local theatre preforming The Last Days of Troy - all whilst being able to eat and drink at a wide variety of brilliant venues and having access to the beautiful Nuttall Park (well maintained by the volunteer group Friends of Nuttall Park) or the equally stunning walks on Holcombe Hill.  

"The council has also moved forwards with investment in the town centre with plans for a community events space on the site of the current Saturday market site, pedestrianisation of Square street, the revamping of the market chambers as a Ramsbottom Enterprise Centre with flexible office space, alongside bids to the City Regional Sustainable Transport Settlement fund to help increase accessibility around the town for pedestrians and help alleviate parking in the town centre."

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