We end our series where we ask the owners of local businesses what they think about being part of the community in the Seven Dials / West Hill area. Unsurprisingly, most of them yearn for an improvement in the parking situation and an overwhelming percentage think that business rates could be much fairer. Every one of the businesses love the community in which they are based.
Please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about living in this area and your improvement suggestions.
Yvonne Parks Hair Stylist has been a West Hill fixture since 1961. Yvonne Harman and second-in-command Susan Gail have been gently perming and cutting in Gloucester Road for a generation and more. Yvonne was first attracted to the area because she “liked the village feel about it. Whole families became our clients, and our friends.” West Hill is a “gateway to so many places, near to the railway station and the buses.”
Reach Physiotherapy is owned by Antony Causton, previously based in Preston Circus. He was attracted to the Dials by the “foot traffic and its central location” and likes the “vibrant energy” here.
Room 5 Hairdressing Owner Darren Sayers has been based in this area for five and a half years. He was at Bliss in the Dials before he started Room 5 as he already had an existing clientele here. He likes this very friendly, local area, which is central to all the other areas in town. Improvement suggestion: more street sweeping and cheaper parking.
Seven Cellars Louise Oliver has owned and run this independent wine and beer merchant with her manager Matt since December 2015. “It’s a vibrant community with other independent businesses and a busy high street which is, of course, important. We work hard to find interesting, unusual drinks both locally and internationally and when the shop became available I just knew it was exactly the right place to start this kind of business. The community has welcomed us with open arms, and we have so enjoyed meeting everyone. The other business owners all chat to each other, it feels very close knit. When we opened the support we got was huge – whether it was me getting locked out and the lads from the barbers coming to my rescue; the lads from the estate agents were amazing and helped me move a fridge; the guys at the Kitchen Table café helped me when I ran out of change. Moral support from Latina café, and a chin-wag with the girls at Jagwa. You name it, I messed it up when I started and they were all so welcoming, understanding and helpful.”
Seven Dials Florist Ian Graham has been based in Seven Dials for 42 years, man and boy, since he moved from George Street in 1974. He says his second-in-command is his Bank Manager. It was lots of passing trade that attracted him to the area and he likes its friendly, community feeling. Improvement suggestion: lower parking charges and CCTV on the roundabout.
Sixty Seven Jo Weeks owns and runs this gift shop with her second-in-command, Penny. The shop has been here for 10 years. Jo has lived in the area for 34 years, since she moved from Portsmouth. She started the business because she loves the area, with its lovely people and village feel. Improvement suggestion: cheaper parking.
Sussex Yeoman has been owned by John Inch for 13 years, who has lived in the area for 33 years since moving here from Leeds, having the local knowledge to spot a good business opportunity. He likes the “central location for all Brighton amenities, the station etc, but still it’s a quiet area to live, even with the high footfall for trade.”
Teddy Edwards Cutting Rooms is owned by Alex Burt and Ace Kelly is his ace in charge. Alex has been based in this area all his life, working all over Brighton & Hove. He’s always loved the Seven Dials and fell in love with the unit. He likes Seven Dials for the “community and the relationship with other business owners in the area.” Improvement suggestion: the parking system.
Tinkers Hardware has been in the Dials for many years, and Hemant Patel and his wife Smita have owned and run it for 17 months, having moved here from London. He ran the Londis Supermarket (now the Co-op) from 1984 to 1997. He likes the friendly people in the area, who are always appreciative of the service they provide. Improvement suggestion: more parking for shoppers.
Treasure and Trash 17 years ago Scott Taylor was passing through the Dials as he travelled round the country doing boot sales and saw an advert for a short rent on the shop in Bath Street. Now he’s the leaseholder! He’s stayed because of the community. Improvement suggestion: parking so he doesn’t get tickets when he’s loading.
Tutti Frutti Sara and Robert Gooch took over this deli/café 14 years ago, having both been working elsewhere full time. They were attracted to the Dials mainly because of the great community feel. They like the cosmopolitan atmosphere and its compactness, with a good range of shops and businesses. Improvement suggestion: pedestrianisation of the road from Bath Street down to the roundabout which happened temporarily during the work on the roundabout and the traffic flow was fine.