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Sawbridgeworth town centre bouncing back with impetus of new businesses




New businesses have sprung up in Sawbridgeworth heralding a bounce back for the town centre after a torrid few months caused by the lockdown closure.

Town Mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace attended the opening of Pizza Squisita after owner Mike Mason took over the Cafe of Angels from Austin James and she was keen to highlight a new era of positivity.

“It’s really exciting to see new businesses in town,” said Cllr Furnace. “It’s a sign of how the town is resilient and imaginative.”

Mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace with Squisita owner Mike Mason at the opening of the Bell Street cafe(41652074)
Mayor Cllr Annelise Furnace with Squisita owner Mike Mason at the opening of the Bell Street cafe(41652074)

She added that the new traders were being helped by the existing business owners and said the community was continuing to support local businesses.

“It’s a good combination having a strong set of businesses to take us forward. There are real opportunities in Sawbridgeworth,” she said.

Cafe of Angels owner Austin James, who was present at the opening of Pizza Squisita, issued a message ofhope about the future for the town when he passed the baton on to his friend back in July.

Erol Mustafa, owner of Thrive Barbers with staff member barber Olly Dino(41424718)
Erol Mustafa, owner of Thrive Barbers with staff member barber Olly Dino(41424718)

Austin said young, new business owners would inject positive energy into the area as they were not fazed by the issues caused by the coronavirus crisis.

“They’re ready to hit the ground running,” he said. “You get this vibe – when you’re younger you don’t have the same fear.

“I think they’re going to have to adapt, but small businesses have that ability.”

Over in London Road Erol Mustafa was reflecting on the opening of his Thrive barber shop – a venture hatched out of lockdown.

The team at CJs (41704672)
The team at CJs (41704672)

“I was working in London teaching barbering in an academy and having just turned 30 during lockdown I ended up sitting there thinking ‘I want to go alone’”, said Erol.

Thrive opened on July 4 and Erol hasn’t looked back. “For the first two weeks we were fully booked – in a way it was the perfect time to be opening,” he said.

Erol loves the town, which he says is so friendly. He said even when they were preparing the shop for opening people were knocking on the door and wishing them luck.

He takes pride in creating a great atmosphere in Thrive. “It’s not just a haircut – we like to have a good conversation.”

There was a real buzz among residents when CJs ice cream, desserts and coffee cafe opened in The Square, just before lockdown and people were desperate for its reopening after the Government gave the go-ahead.

The cafe, which carried on as a takeaway during lockdown, isells cakes made by the town’s bakers and customers are lapping up their savoury options.

Another cafe was launched in Bell Street after lockdown and has been winning rave reviews since. Listed opened in August and stated in a Facebook post they were “proud to be part of the pretty little street”.

The mayor said if businesses could get through the difficult times they would be in a really good place.”I get a sense there is a general optimism here.” she added.



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