Wow, doesn’t that Goodsheds look gorgeous then.
I never would have thought as I sat slurping a strawberry milkshake and eating egg and chips in the totally old school Terry’s cafe circa 1980, that Barry would one day boast the first ever sustainable high street in the UK.
In those days, we were just about clinging to a High Street, never mind an urban one,. And Holton Road was dominated by Dan Evans which was hardly the cutting edge of couterie was it – even with Wallis.
But just look at our trendy little town now with Barry’s biggest and boldest building giving us somewhere to work, eat, live and play – all in one stylish space.
Described as ‘a mixture of the best independent food & drink, boutique retail & lifestyle and spaces to do business,’the site also has a cutting edge outdoor gym facility, and Junction by Academy, an independent coffee drive through for all ‘our coffee needs.’
I must ‘fess up first though, that I’ve never actually been there…yet. Just seen the posh piccies, gazed longingly from Academy, and driven past peering nosily out the window. After my Opening Night invite obviously got lost in the post, I did deftly try to book a table for two pronto but it’s right rammed until the end of the month.
Truth be told, I’m pleased as punch it’s so popular, and all good things come to those who wait…I type impatiently.
Still time for me to get a take-out though and stare sharply at The Shipyard which, fair play, houses some fabulous food, craft beer, and even a Michelin star restaurant at the original Sidings buildings – go Barry.
I can also, of course, have a tip toe around ‘The Tracks,’ to see the ethos of the independent retail rightly reached. Brilliantly branded as a ‘continuation of our High Street’, which is just a whisker way thanks to our twinkly Tunnel of Love, it has the added bonus of cool railway carriages and trendy track transformations.
I’ll be spoilt for choice with all that boutique fashion, homeware and lifestyle. I haven’t even got to the exclusive cinema/event space, delicatessen, greengrocer and independent florist yet so I may be some time.
Seriously though, I’m satisfied that the Shop Local ethos shines through, as, for me it’s so community spirited, especially in these coronavirus recovery times, to keep our traders ticking.
I’m not going to lie to you though, I’m also a big believer in all those independents who have set up their stall in our town also giving something back to those who parted with their well-earned wages to keep their tills ringing.
In my view, there are times we’ve see a big boast that Barry has put a business on the map without that crafty company connecting with the community at all – in time, support, solidarity, or cold hard cash.
So, respect to those who’ve always played their part – many of whom have hotfooted to our newest High Street. Give yourselves a bow, take a clap, Box Edit business, the Spectrum Brushes sisters, and the Good Wash gang – to name just a few.
Academy Espresso Bar, is of course, another local lot who help keep our community connected, so cool to catch their coffee drive though giving it large at Goodsheds. And that’s despite Costa around the corner, and, surprise, surprise, a Starbucks springing up soon.
Good Luck to them as they I’ll always remember the perfect Pumphouse part they played in making a sure-fire success of Barry’s first-ever Pride.
I should say here, that to be fair, Goodsheds were also strongly supportive of this year’s Rainbow celebrations, before Covid-19 kicked in causing all those cancellations. Thank you.
Must say I did smile though when I saw that the urban utopia was ‘situated in the centre of Barry.’ Since when then – I always thought that was ‘down town’ – possibly at King Square with Central Park perched to the right.
Truth be told though, Holton Road, no matter how many bridges you build to it, is a sorry shadow of its former self, and, for me the heart of Barry life beats strongest at the Waterfront.
I’ve often written about the division a Two Sides Town brings to our beautiful Barry, and hope we can transform the former shopping site to some of its former glory. Not sure how though – answers on a postcard please.
And whilst I am in moan mode, I hear there’s the usual parking palaver kicking off as the traffic hurries through Hood Road. I feel that pain, as someone who has tried to park at Academy and ended up having to almost then call a taxi – and not just to the kerb, the struggle is real.
I hear the valiant Vale Council are on the case already, and a solution is being sought. For me, there’s no need to spend time talking about that one – one-way is the way forward isn’t its obvs.
Let’s just hope they keep up quicker than they have with the Penrhyn Sign Protest – we’re all still waiting weeks on to see the end of that one. And if Barry Town Council are involved, they’ll ask the community, discuss it in secret, and then probably just ignore them.
But, tales of two cities, parking problems, and the competence of our Councils aside, I see Goodsheds as a great and gorgeous jewel in our town’s crown. I believe it will see our start-ups shine, keep our companies cashing in, boost our local lifestyle, and attract clientele from Wales, and wider.
Barry must benefit too.
Community always counts.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
The dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, can be contacted here.