More new businesses opened in Bedford than closed down over the past 12 months.
During Christmas and New Year alone, 12 independent businesses opened in new premises in the Business Improvement District (BID) zone, bringing the total of start-ups and “moving up” businesses to 60.
BedfordBID director Christina Rowe said: “This is positive proof Bedford is open for business, and entrepreneurs are coming to our town to set up shop.
“Another good sign is that fewer businesses have closed in the last 12 months in the BID zone.
“The churn, particularly of independents, is something common in town centres – one opens, one closes. But only 36 businesses have vacated premises – and as we can see that is sometimes to move up.”
Among the expanding businesses is Limes cafe, which moved from Lime Street to a bigger shop in Harpur Street.
New businesses include The Flute wine bar in Ram Yard; Harko, Chinese restaurant in Lime Street and Thali & Tandoor, Indian restaurant in Castle Lane.
Christina added: “These are not pop-up shops or here today, gone tomorrow Christmas shops, they are committed entrepreneurs who want to be in business in Bedford.”
BedfordBID promotes a large part of the town centre, funded by 575 businesses.