BUSINESS has been booming in Ilfracombe this year according to shop owners, with some even saying it has been the best season ever.
A combination of good weather, lots of local events and the arrival of Damien Hirst’s statue Verity has seen businesses basking in the glory of increased visitor numbers.
And the effect has not just been limited to the seafront area, with businesses in the High Street also enjoying the buzz of extra shoppers.
Kate Wortley, co-owner and chef at Coombe Cottage Café in the High Street, said she has had the best summer in the eight years she has been in Ilfracombe.
“We were number one on Trip Advisor all summer,” she said. “Because we have been here so long a lot of local people come back, but we have also had the best year ever for return customers.”
Kate credits the busy season to a number of things.
“The weather has been gorgeous,” she added.
“There is also Verity so I don’t know if that may be having an effect.
“Everybody has been quite busy.”
Other shop owners have said Verity has definitely had an effect, but is not the sole reason for the extra visitors.
Rob Fairchild, manager at a gift shop in Broad Street, said: “People have been coming here to see Verity. I am all for her but she does get a mixed reaction.
“The weather really helped bring people in as well so it is difficult to say if it is fully down to Verity.”
Steve Pugsley, owner of Quay Value Holiday Shop, said whether people love or hate Verity, she has definitely brought people to Ilfracombe.
“It has definitely had an effect,” he said. “Although when people come in to ask about her none of the businesses have any information or souvenirs to offer.”
Nick Waters, landlord at the Ship and Pilot in Broad Street, said Ilfracombe has been different this year.
“It has been a really good summer,” he added. “I think it has changed this year though. We have had fewer locals and more tourists.
“It has been fantastic and trouble-free. There has also been more happening and more events have been organised.
“We are now looking forward to next year.”
Has Ilfracombe been busier this year? Have your say below.