Spotlight on Ashford

2 November 2020


With half of its retail portfolio run by independent local businesses, Ashford’s town centre can proudly boast a truly balanced shopping experience. Indies enjoy equal prominence amongst a mix of high street names and brands in Ashford’s prime shopping areas including the pedestrianised High Street, North Street and Bank Street, that sit comfortably between the town’s two shopping centres, Park Mall and County Square.

During a recent Localise team meet up in Ashford we walked the town visiting a number of independently owned small businesses. The passion for what each individual business does as well as their warmth and willingness to talk to us was notable. 

Among those we met was a fun and open Melissa Dawkins that’s pushing for more creative enterprise. Melissa is one of the founding collaborators of Made in Ashford which offers unique gifts made by a group of local designer/makers and crafts people selling and supporting each other. Their brimful shop, located at 26 Park Mall, is a true expression of local creative enterprise. 

Around the corner at 9 Park Mall we savoured sweet homemade delights served by Russell who runs The Little Teapot, a very busy local tea and cake shop.

And then it was back to business at The Coachworks, a sustainably designed co-working space, ideal for indies and freelancers. This is where we met with Adam Ready, MD of Sideways Media, a Kent focused PR agency, to talk about how his team can help launch Localise across the county.

Of course, it’s always nice to work in a bright, architecturally pleasing place, but below in the courtyard pure temptation was on offer. Built around an open space that turns into a music venue by night, (when lockdown’s not in force), Coachworks is home to a number of indie food retailers, including Antonio and Makalla’s Street King’s Smoke Shack and Jacopo Meli’s pizzeria, Il Pakkero.

There’s no doubt about the instinctive indie vibe that resonates throughout Ashford makes it a fun, characterful place with a lot to offer any shopper. You can browse more shops on Love Ashford’s comprehensive online retail directory. The site also regularly publishes a shopping blog which includes deals and offers.

Proudly working with…

British Independent Retailers Association