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The town already has a thriving eating and drinking scene and it’s hoping to complete its bounce-back after Covid and become even more of a go-to once the curtain finally goes up on the much-anticipated theatre.
As well as food fans from across the region, it’s aiming to bring in a new audience of Bard lovers heading to Prescot.
Nina Halliwell, who owns The Albion Bakehouse, says businesses are working together to make sure that, like Statford-Upon-Avon, they maximise the benefits of having such a major theatre attraction on their doorstep.
“The Playhouse will potentially bring a worldwide audience, as well as a wider UK one, so that’s definitely got to be a good thing for all of us and for Prescot as a whole,” she says.
“We’re meeting with the theatre to see how we can work together because what we want to avoid is people coming to Prescot just to see a performance and then leaving straight afterwards. We need to get them around the town centre so they can see what we’re all up to.
“Ideally they could come here for afternoon tea before or after, use the restaurants and the bars, check out the shops and that way we can all see that benefit.
“We just need to make people aware of what we’ve got so hopefully by the time the theatre opens it will all click into place.”
Nina, who comes originally from Huyton, chose to open her first bakery and tearooms in Prescot back in 2015.
Then, the theatre was only in the early planning stages, but she spotted the potential.
After being a partner in a fashion business, Nina started making cakes in her own kitchen at home after she had her third child.
“I had no childcare, I wanted to do something creative so I just started baking,” she explains.
“I did all kinds, drip cakes and classic things like scones. I was going to farmer’s markets and Lou who has Jessie & Co in Prescot put on some markets which were really successful, there about 30 different markers there every month.
“My business just expanded and got too much for the house so I found my first little tearoom and cake shop in Leyland Street, that was 2015.
“They were talking then about the theatre coming to Prescot so I signed a lease for a year to see how it went and we ended up staying until 2018. At that point things got so busy we just needed more space so that’s when we moved to where we are now, in Atherton Street.”
Nina says the first year in the new shop was great then lockdown happened.
But that didn’t mean the baking stopped – Albion Bakehouse switched to home delivering afternoon teas and treats.
“In lockdown we were doing about 100 afternoon tea boxes on Saturdays for people to pick up or have dropped off and our treat boxes were really popular because people just wanted to cheer themselves up with something nice. We were actually busier than ever.”
Like most retail centres, Prescot was knocked by Covid restrictions, but Nina’s confident of a comeback and a successful 2022. She’s reassessed her own business, to focus more on afternoon teas and lunches, and has noticed others taking stock and adapting too.
“New bars and restaurants are opening up all the time, and we’ve got some really good ones which have been here for years and managed to survive. We’ve also got places like Imaginarium which is a theatre venue as well as a bistro and what they do is brilliant.
“Prescot was going in the right direction prior to lockdown, everyone who opened a new business could see how well it was going, then obviously lockdown hit hard but now hopefully it’s looking good again.”
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