Posted 18th Apr 2018
In the latest of our Humans of the Waterway features, courtesy of the Canal & River Trust, we meet Fran, near Bradford Lock
"I've had my canalside shop for fifteen years. A lot of people who come into the shop say, “I bet you don't get busy tucked down here on the quiet canal, hidden away from the town centre.” and I say, “You'd be surprised.”
Here, we get a different kind of customer coming into the shop. Because of the canal, people are ambling around and nobody is in a hurry, which allows people to really browse... and buy. Most people who pass my shop window are on a walk or a day out or a holiday so they've got time. And that's why this is a good place for the shop.
I didn't originally pick this site for my shop specifically because it was canalside. My friend owns the building and I came to have a look. It was a rainy winter day and I saw the shop as a derelict building away from the town, and my friend said, “No, you'll be amazed how many people come to the canal.”
I decided to go ahead and do it... and that's when it got really exciting because the shop was instantly so busy! It was great. So that's how it began. Now that we're 15 years on, I think the canal is getting busier and busier.
We've always got a good range of stock, but in the summertime it's the holiday boating season and I have to be ready for even more browsers. People travelling the rural leafy canal on their holiday boats haven't seen a shop for a while, and when they see my shop you can hear them say 'There's a shop...' and in they come.
This shop has been so successful that I’ve just opened a second shop in the centre of the town. It remains to be seen which will be the busiest, but I think this one by the canal. I didn't expect so much when I first decided to open my shop on the canal… it's been really great."
Text and image courtesy of the Canal & River Trust