TRADERS in Newbiggin are concerned for the future as Christmas approaches.
They have stayed afloat in the recession with low prices and friendly service.
But they are now unsure how to respond to the latest sudden dip in trade.
Confectioner Marilyn Jewitt said: “It’s the worst year I’ve seen.
“This shop’s been here about ten years, but we had a really bad winter and it’s been followed by a not very good summer.
“When it was sunny it was absolutely brilliant, but if there’s no sun, nobody comes.
“Tourists are great for the summer, but it’s the locals we need. We make a point of trying to have the lowest prices.
David Scott has run his greengrocer’s shop for eight years and says this whole year has been quiet.
“It doesn’t help when the council starts the farmers’ market selling similar produce to what we are selling.
“We can’t slash prices any further.”
At the Londis general store the manageress believed Newbiggin was suffering from the loss of basics such as a bank and a butcher.
But this had recently become worse.
“We’ve seen a dramatic change in the last three or four weeks. It’s been really, really quiet,” she said.
But there is optimism. Jan Stark opened her gift and accessories shop Panache 18 months ago but has recently moved nearer the town centre and found the new position a great improvement.
Miss Jewitt added: “I think everybody’s kind of riding out this bad patch and hoping it gets better.
“I think for the size of the place, Newbiggin’s got a really good range.”