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Date added: 09 September 2008

A Walk Down Wood St 

We pay a visit to the heart of Old Town
 
From boutiques to bars, dresses to dance classes - it's all happening in Wood Street!
 
So we took a walk down Old Town's most popular street, to see exactly what's on offer...
 
Bang & Olufsen
5 Wood Street
Bang & Olufsen Swindon
 
Bang & Olufsen Swindon
Gordon Harker, manager
Bang & Olufsen
How has summer been for Bang & Olufsen?
I took over on 1st July and since then it's been fantastic. I've seen a lot of old faces from years gone by still enjoying the Bang & Olufsen brand - and a lot of new people too. 

More people are being introduced to the brand, and we've been up 
about 15% on last year.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
First of all, there's no other Bang & Olufsen retailer in the immediate area.

We offer very unique products, which are designed without compromise, and we always strive for the best picture and sound quality we can possibly get.
 
Watch out for...
Our entire range is now going to be available in white - all speakers, all televisions, all phones - it's called the White Wave.
A lot of new things are being unveiled - but they have to remain secret for the moment!

And we've got a limited edition product coming in too. Only 1,500 are being made worldwide, and Bang & Olufsen Swindon have got four to sell. So some great things ahead!
 
What makes Wood Street different?
It's a fantastic street. It's one of the best streets in Swindon, in my opinion.

The only reason Bang & Olufsen are here is because of the other niche retailers we have - people like Deacon, Magnum Wine, Old Town Hardware - it's nice because you get a personal service here that you wouldn't get anywhere else. 
 
 
 
 
Red Planet Bikes
7 Wood Street
Red Planet Bikes
 
Red Planet Bikes
Ivor Read, manager
Red Planet Bikes
How has summer been for Red Planet Bikes?
It's been pretty good. In general there's been a trend for more people getting on their bikes.
I think the World Championships earlier in the year has helped raise the profile of cycling.
 
The whole cycle to work thing, both from an environmental point of view - people wanting to cycle to work - and the government pushing the cheap bikes, has definitely made a difference.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We're already very well established in the Swindon mountain biking community, so people know we're here and we offer a personalised service.

We're specialists so we try to focus, and stay good at what we do.

Watch out for...
Our commuter bikes. They've been selling really well this summer, because more people are choosing to cycle to work.

What makes Wood Street different?
We've got a little bit of everything here, and people know they are going to get a particular level of service.
 
 
 
 
 
Mario's Italian Restaurant
7 Wood Street
Mario's Swindon
 
Mario's Swindon
Enzo and Nino Coniglio
Mario's restaurant
How has the summer been for Mario's?
Lunchtimes have been pretty slow, but evenings are fantastic.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We've got a special lunch menu, with all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta, or you can c hoose any pasta or pizza from the main menu for £5.95.
 
Watch out for...
Very soon we'll be opening a bar on the first floor, so hopefully people will come here to eat or drink, or both!
 
What makes Wood Street different?
It's a fantastic place to be! It's lovely to come out, there's no trouble, and people are here to have a good time.
There are quite a few restaurants and some shops that encourage people to come up here. We're trying our best!

 
 

Nine Retail
9 Wood Street
Nine Retail Swindon

Nine Retail Swindon
Laura Hunt, manager
Nine Retail
How has summer been for Nine Retail?
Summer's been good. The weather's obviously dictated a lot for us.

Early on was very positive, we were selling lots of dresses for Ascot and weddings, so that's one of our really popular items.
Since then of course the weather hasn't been fantastic, but we're OK. Plodding along!
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We offer a personalised service. People can take their time to have a look around, we've got lots of beautiful pieces.
 
Watch out for...
We've just had a new line of Hudson jeans in, which are just flying out! Very celebrity worn denim jeans, which retail at £189 - but that doesn't seem to stop people, so that's really been positive for us.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
It's all happening here. I think Old Town is really becoming the place to be, and actually I'd really like to see more specialist shops - especially to complement me.
It would be nice to have other boutiques, as long as they're not doing the same as what I'm doing. I think that would encourage the footfall, because we still need to shout about Wood Street, and I don't think everybody really knows what's on offer up here.
 
 
 

Deacon & Son Jewellers
11-15 Wood Street
Deacon's Swindon

Deacon's Swindon
Richard Deacon, manager
Deacon & Son
How has summer been for Deacon and Son?
In general, business is functioning well and it's been a pretty busy summer.

We've found that watches have been particularly strong over the summer period.
I think if you are a long established specialist business you're more equipped to ride out the peaks and the troughs.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We try to keep our personal service to our customers as good as it can possibly be.
 
Watch out for...
We're celebrating our 160th anniversary this year so we've got a special edition pocket watch that will be coming out in late autumn, and we've got a wonderful grandfather clock which features some of Swindon's top historical attractions like The Tabernacle.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
It's a place for specialist small well-run shops that offer a personal service. And it's shops of that nature that really do help.
Although I do think we need to attract some specialist food retailing back in to the street - delicatessens and bakeries.
We haven't got a butcher which is something we do need, especially with all the new residential accomodation very close by.

 
 
 
Old Town Hardware
14 Wood Street
Old Town Hardware Swindon
 
Old Town Hardware Swindon
Dan Stubbins, manager
Old Town Hardware
How has summer been for Old Town Hardware?
The summer hasn't been too bad considering the weather, which has been appalling! It obviously
knocks sales of patio furniture for example, but generally it's holding up OK.
We've sold a lot of slug pellets this year, but other than that, everything is selling.

We're selling lots more smaller bits rather than big high-end products, but everything sells in a hardware shop.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We're finding that people respond to the quality of the items we sell. Rather than buying cheap products, they'll come and buy a quality one that will last longer.
 
Watch out for...
Everything! If your kettle breaks, you still need a kettle!
 
What makes Wood Street different?
The businesses in Old Town are very niche. They offer specific services and specific products, and generally people will use those products despite there being some problems with the economy.

We've been here eight years now, and Wood Street has really started to come up now. It's going for quality - quality shops selling quality products.
 




Mackenzies
16 Wood Street
Mackenzies Swindon
 
Mackenzies Swindon
Paul Naylor, general manager
Mackenzies
How has summer been for Mackenzies?
It's been good. As soon as the sun comes out, people from work come shooting to our garden - kick back and enjoy our 2-for-1 cocktail offers.
We were expecting it to be a lot worse, but we've definitely survived the credit crunch this year.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
The garden's the biggest
attraction for us. As soon as that sun comes out, people know to come here!
 
Watch out for...
We have 2-for-1 cocktails every night from 5-8pm, and all day Wednesday and Sunday.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
We've got a lot of local new businesses moving in, and it's thriving now. There's a good mix up here now, and people seem to prefer coming here than down the bottom of town.
It feels a lot safer up here, a tight-knit community, and everyone's a lot closer around the bars.
We do a lot of the festivals up here, so you've got the Old Town Bowl festivals, the Mela, Invincible - which all attract people to come and spend a bit of money in Old Town.

 
 
 
The Kings
20 Wood Street
The Kings Swindon
 
The Kings Swindon
Chris Piper, landlord
The Kings
How has summer been for The Kings?
It hasn't been too bad. This is not a summer pub - we haven't got a big garden like the others. We've just got the main bar and the smoking area out the back.
 
What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We have various events throughout the week, and DJs at the weekend.
 
Watch out for...
Our weekly salsa dancing classes are really popular.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
I've been here eight years, and the street has really changed over the years. We've got more people coming up here now than we've ever had before.
We do need tables and chairs outside, and more of a European feel to Wood Street, but we have to see what happens with that. The Old Town Business Association is looking in to it.

 
 
 
Magnum Wine
22 Wood Street
Magnum Wine Swindon
 
Magnum Wine Swindon
Brian Saunders, manager
Magnum Wine
How has summer been for Magnum Wine?
We seem to have escaped the worst of the credit crunch.
And luckily there are enough discerning customers in Swindon who come and support us.
 
What do you offer that nobody else does?
I think our offering here is different from that of the supermarkets, so we've got something different to offer people.
 
Watch out for...
Lots of different innovative new products like Croft Pink Port - that's gone really well for us this summer.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
We've been here just a short time now - 20 years! And I think Wood Street's looking really good at the moment.

It's all independent traders here. Deacon's, Nine, Old Town Hardware - they're all independently owned and run businesses, and it really makes the difference when you see the levels of service and choice of offering.

It's really a great place to come and visit - we just need more people to come up and share it with us!

 
 
 
Los Gatos
23 Wood Street
Los Gatos Swindon
 
Magnum Wine Swindon
Phil Saunter, manager
Los Gatos
How has summer been for Los Gatos?
There's no sign of the recession here! We've had a great summer, and our new menu has proved to be very popular.

It was supposed to be our summer menu - we tried to get it out in May, but because we've been so busy, we didn't manage to deliver it until July!
 
What do you offer that nobody else does?
We offer something different.

Something that nobody else offers, and something that nobody has ever offered in Swindon before, which is a piece of Spain in Swindon!
So maybe with the credit crunch, all the people who aren't going to Spain on holiday, are coming to Los Gatos.
 
Watch out for...
Our new menu. Lots of nice light new summer dishes, and it's proved to be very popular so far!
 
What makes Wood Street different?
I've lived in Old Town since 1980 and now Wood Street is really buzzing. It's a great social centre.
With the credit crunch people are more careful about how they spend their money, but what they are doing is spending it on quality. And that's what you get in Wood Street.
We've been here almost two and a half years, and things have really picked up a lot.

 
 
 
Juvals
26 Wood Street
Juvals Swindon
 
Juvals Swindon
Val Richman, manager
Juvals
How has summer been for Juvals?
Sales haven't been too bad, but what we've been affected by is the weather.

Obviously it would've been better if we'd had more sun! But on the whole, it's not been bad.
Next season's line is just coming out. We've put it out slightly early than we would normally because of the weather, and it's selling.

What do you offer that nobody else in Swindon does?
We've got individuality here, and something different that isn't available in town. Our big advantage is personal service.
 
Watch out for...
The tummy tuck jeans from America have been particulary popular this summer. They're very good, they give you a great shape.
 
What makes Wood Street different?
Look at the variety now. Whatever you want up here, we've got it really. Look at the art galleries, the selection of shops, the jewellers, places to eat.

And if we'd had a summer, there are some lovely gardens to sit in!

 

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