Sidmouth: a good place for women to do business

High Street

High Street - Credit: Archant

A unique town and personal drive are some of the reasons why women choose to do business in Sidmouth.

Statistics from Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce show that 41 per cent of businesses are owned or run by women either as sole traders or with husbands or partners.

It is a higher percentage than the number of women in the British cabinet.

Tracy Aplin, of Sidmouth Print, has been running her business for 10 years, moving from Sidford to a new location in Radway Place, over a year ago due to expansion.

She said: “I found Sidmouth a very good place to do business, mostly, in fact, because my particular business is a very male-dominated industry, so we are quite unique.

“Women do business slightly differently than men. I think women are organically empathetic and nine times out of ten they are juggling families and homes.”

She added: “There are a lot more women in business than there were five, six, even seven years ago.”

Most Read

Sandra Cole runs Coles with her husband Jim; the business is now entering its 10th year.

Sandra said: “We all put in 110 per cent and more, we just want to do our business and for it to succeed.

“We are always changing things in the shop - when I think of something I just do it. I never sit on my laurels, because failure is not an option.”

The businesswoman added that the number of independent outlets in the town was important as customers remarked on the ‘uniqueness’ of the town.

She added: “Why can’t they [big chains] be scared of us [independents]? We are not governed by an office, we can change and grow, why should I be running scared by a big name? I think I would have more to offer.”

Linda Macaulay has run Boswell Farm cottages for 20 years, six of them on her own.

She said: “To run a business on your own is hard work but it is very rewarding.

“I think the number of women in business is increasing, there are many more women that are going into careers now because they feel that they do not have to have children.

“There are more women who want to push forward with their careers.”

Last week, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce elected Mel Gater as its third female chairman in 72 years.

She followed in the footsteps of Dorothy Hartnell and Rose Endean, who are the only other women to have been elected since 1943.