An independent business in Clacton has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Baby and toddler retailer Little Uns at Clacton Shopping Village celebrated a successful 2023, doubling its staff from five to ten and securing a spot on the shortlist for the Essex Small Business Awards. 

Owner Gemma Veale said: “It’s been really good. We love it here.  

“We just didn’t expect it to be so busy because we had come from the town centre, and we were just overwhelmed at first and we’re still amazed at how busy we are. 

“It’s been the best move we could make and the best thing I’ve done because I was a bit worried at first about going from a little shop to a bigger one but it couldn’t have gone any better. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“The footfall really helps and we’ve gained a lot of new customers as well as retaining our old ones and I think that what makes the difference from buying online is that you get that personal experience and care here.” 

The nomination comes as Clacton Shopping Village saw a record-breaking 2023 with 1.6 million visitors and sales rocketing through the £21million mark for the first time. 

This included a whooping £630,000 taken in the week leading to Christmas with almost 40,000 customers flocking to the retail park. 

Topping off a successful year, leisurewear giant Cotton Traders moved into a larger unit and JD Sports signed a new five-year lease. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

With the arrival of Little Uns and the return of outdoor clothing experts TOG 24, all 22 units of the retail park have been occupied. 

Operations manager for Clacton Shipping Village, Leanne Pfrang, is pleased with the trend of new openings. 

She said: “We have major retailers such as Home Bargains, Cotton Traders and JD Sports here and have also seen a steady stream of small, independent shops opening and this is very much in keeping with the retail offer of the town. 

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“Our role in helping businesses start up here has been important and we have seen independents like Little Uns and Kennedy’s Furniture and Beds establish themselves.”