Blushing brides and breathtaking gowns all in a day's work
THE demise of well-known retailers may be changing the face of the high street, but these shifts are providing opportunities for local, independent firms.
Something Special is one of the latest independent Hull retailers to move into the city centre.
The business was founded in 2006 by Jane Nixon, who opened her first shop in Holderness Road before expanding into larger premises in Clarence Street.
Now Jane has transformed an empty shop in Brook Street into a boutique wedding dress shop.
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"Simply Brides started out seven years ago from humble beginnings in east Hull," said Jane.
"Back then most of the shops in the city centre were taken and there weren't many unoccupied that an independent retailer could afford. It was just too expensive.
"But more recently I had been reading about all the empty shops and thinking 'what a shame'.
"Now, it is much more viable for smaller independents to move into the city centre."
Positioned in between Prospect Shopping Centre and St Stephen's shopping centre and near to the transport Interchange, Something Special is now benefiting from strong footfall.
Jane said the reduction in Humber Bridge tolls was also bringing a boost to business.
She said: "The city is divided into east and west. It used to be frustrating when I was based on one side only.
"Now we are now ideally placed for customers on both sides of Hull, and because we are near to the Interchange we are welcoming customers from further afield.
"We have seen an increase in the number of brides from North Lincolnshire, which I think is largely down to the reduction in bridge tolls.
"Being next to Debenhams, which has just undergone a massive refurbishment, is also great for us and there are some great little businesses in this area."
Jane is now looking to further expand and has plans to take on a new apprentice seamstress.
"Seamstresses used to be couture trained and spent five years training," said Jane.
"That doesn't happen anymore and now those skilled seamstresses are in their sixties.
"My seamstresses are very experienced but it is a dying trade.
"I am now thinking about taking on a trainee because we work on our own dresses in the shop.
"We also carry out alterations for dresses people have bought elsewhere."