Lee-On-The-Solent: Which shops are in the high street as councillors encourage people to shop local

Lee-On-The-Solent's high street is often overlooked as visitors instead explore the seafront, according to local councillors. Here is what the town has to offer shoppers.

High Street is just one road back from the scenic Lee-On-The-Solent coastline, but boasts an array of independent businesses – where shoppers can buy anything from sirloin steaks to frogs and snakes.

Conservative Lee West councillors John Gledhill and John Beavis would like to encourage more people to shop in the area, which they feel is sometimes missed by visitors.

John Gledhill told The News: “We’ve got a fantastic high street, and what we want to try and do is to get people get people to come off the seafront – when they are going for their long walks across our lovely seafront – to actually come and use our independent shops and support the local traders with their local businesses.

Councillor John Beavis added: “We’re quite lucky here. Our high street is very, very active and what is really interesting is that if a shop does close down, it immediatley gets someone else who is interested and another shop opens up here. It’s really a very community-based high street with very friendly traders, all working together to achieve the best for the local people.

The News set out to speak with some of the unique, independent businesses operating in and around the high street.

Leanne Dodd, owner of Boutique By The Sea, said: “We are predominantly a ladies and gents boutique. We sell lots of goods like clothing, handbags and accessories, alongside some lovely giftwear and cards, jewelery – all very coastal based. I believe that people should come shopping in Lee-On-The-Solent because I am a Lee girl – I grew up here so it’s very close to my heart. We have such a fantastic community here – not just the residents but the business community too. We’ve got such a lovely range of independent shops, businesses, bars, cafes. We’ve got a book shop, we’ve got a butchers, we’ve got a bakers – pretty much almost a candlestick makers. I think that we have a lot to offer anybody that decides to come to the seaside – come and find us, we’re literally one road back.“ She added that the shop aims to champion the UK’s independent artists and designers.

Jason, who manages reptile shop Ridgeway Exotics, said: "We’re passionate about keeping reptiles and other exotic animals here. We’re all about the education here and entertainment, and creating a nice environment for people to buy their first exotic pet. Everyone is always going to be welcome here and all of their questions are going to be treated with respect – they’ll get lots of details from us as well. Lee-On-The-Solent is certainly improving. I think we are certainly unique – and a few other shops on the high street are as well – so it’s a nice environment here as well.”

Jazz Woodward from The Book Shop said: “We are an almost completely family-run business and we have been in business since 1933. Everything in the bookshop we lovingly do ourselves. There are personal touches everywhere. We put every bit of love we have into this shop – it’s kind of our baby. I think it’s very important that people support their local businesses. You’re helping to change someone’s life when you support an independent business rather than a big corporation; that money goes into our pockets and into bettering our shops and what we can do.

Liz Jukes, who launched her jewellery shop So ScentiMentle in October last year, told The News: “I have to say that business has been absolutely amazing. I have been welcomed by all the traders which has been really good, and that’s nice to have when you’re opening a new business. You’ve got lots of independent traders [in Lee-On-The-Solent] – you’re always going to find something that’s slightlydifferent from the mainstream shops on the high street. You’ve got the seaside – what more could you want?”.

Watch the video embedded in the story to take a look inside some of Lee-On-The-Solent’s independent shops.

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