The Quarterly Village Publication produced by Barrow upon Soar Community Association


New beginnings and changes to Barrow businesses

There have been three pretty visible changes on the High Street recently and several new businesses set up in Barrow: an encouraging sign in the present economic climate.

Strawberry Lettings, located in what used to be Robert’s barbers is a residential lettings service owned and run by Nicola Higginbotham. Until she moved into the High Street, Nicola worked from her home in Sileby. With her assistant Claire Bateman, they clock up over 25 years of experience in lettings. Nicola is delighted with the dramatic increase in business resulting from greater visibility. She is also one of the lucky few whose business can benefit from the economic downturn: more people are renting because they don’t want to risk big mortgages. There are also more investment possibilities for landlords.

Strawberry Lettings provides an investment search service finding appropriate properties for investors to buy as well as marketing properties and finding tenants. And of course she finds accommodation for customers who want to rent. Nicola is enthusiastic about her business. Her aim is to make it both friendly and professional, utilising her local knowledge to enrich her services. She is very proud of her ARLA professional accreditation and is also a member of Barrow Business Forum.

roomtowork is a new business that is carrying on the function of Digiti (the old Webster and Barnes site that was beautifully refurbished by John Lockwood). Sean O’Neill, the Director and co-owner employs four local people and has made it his policy to use local trades people whenever he needs work doing to the building.

roomtowork offers a number of services to businesses, including serviced office space to rent; a fully manned reception and secretarial service; 3 serviced meeting rooms including catering facilities for between 2 and 50 people; a virtual office for small businesses who want a bespoke telephone answering service that gives a very professional image.

Sean brings a wealth of experience of both Big Business and small companies and is very keen to become part of the commercial life of Barrow and to provide a really valuable service to local businesses. He expects to become a member of Barrow Business Forum shortly. His motto is ‘sell globally; think locally’. roomtowork is a very pleasing environment further enhanced by the artwork of a small number of Loughborough Uni art students.

Sean offers a discount to anyone coming in with a copy of this article.

The third change on Barrow High Street affects the chemists: Alliance Pharmacy merged with Boots three years ago and gradually, all their shops have been transformed into Boots Local. The transformation in Barrow started in April and ended with a Grand Opening on May 5th by Lilian Middleton, who was Barrow’s independent pharmacist for many years.

There have been no changes of staff or opening times (still Mon – Fri 8.30 – 6.00, Sat 9 – 5, with lunchtime closing 1 - 2). All the services that had been developed by Alliance remain with an improved prescription dispensary, private consultations, medicine usage reviews, prescription collection service and Quit Smoking advice. What is new is the facility to use the Boots Advantage Card (described as the most generous loyalty card in the UK). Manager Janis Bishop also explained about the new Health Club and the Parenting Club ( for details, pick up a leaflet from Barrow Boots Local).

And now a new photography business ‘Elizabeth Michael Modern Life Photography’ set up by Barrow girl Liz Domokos. You might know her better as Liz Beaumont, daughter of Ann and John Beaumont. All four of them are very involved in village projects, notably in organising the Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival.

Elizabeth Michael’ is a husband and wife enterprise. Both Liz and Mike are employed in other professions but they share a passion for photography and particularly enjoy ‘capturing those moments that show true emotion and life as it happens’. Liz hopes that the business will grow to become her main occupation (in addition to looking after their growing family). She explained their Jack Spratt relationship: Mike provides the technical skills, building from his computing day job while Liz provides the creative flair ( from her experiences in the fashion industry).

Since the business began in May 2008 it has really taken off. Although they undertake all sorts of commissions, Liz specialises in ‘bump to baby’ and family portraits. They work from home and aim to provide a relaxed and comfortable environment and an affordable product. We wish them both well.

Judith Rodgers