Village firms beating the 'crunch'

SURF S up in Woolacombe - and so is business for a number of local firms that are riding out the current economic trend in style. The seaside village - an established favourite with both local and UK surfers - has two new exciting additions opening this w

SURF'S up in Woolacombe - and so is business for a number of local firms that are riding out the current economic trend in style.The seaside village - an established favourite with both local and UK surfers - has two new exciting additions opening this week, while two old favourite have been given makeovers.Woolacombe will be the first place in Europe to unveil a new-look Billabong store this year, when the global surf giant officially opens a new partnership store with Hunter Boardwear on Friday.Billabong has transformed a former beach goods shop next to the Hunter store in West Road.Hunter Boardwear managing director Mark Buck said that Hunter itself had also been refurbished; and that the new combined surf shop was now one of the biggest in the South West."Billabong has opened stores across Europe in major cities like Milan, Barcelona and Saltzberg so this just shows the confidence they have in the area," he said.Brad Hockridge, of Billabong UK, said the shop was the first new store for the company for 2009.The new Bar Electric is also opening on Friday after extensive refurbishment of the former Westbeach Bar, also in West Road.The business will run side-by-side with fine dining restaurant, The Electric, which opened two years ago."We've totally gutted and revamped the place and we'll be open all year-round, seven days a week," said Rob Broxham, who is opening the bar with his brother, Ed.The two new openings are more good news for Woolacombe following the recent refurbishment of The Red Barn.The popular watering hole and restaurant has just re-opened after a massive winter refurbishment to the outside area that has included new paving slabs, disabled access, tables, garden, lighting and signage."It's had a complete overhaul," said general manager Paul Duke.


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