Birstall is living proof that there’s life in the high street – in spite of the failure of many leading retailers.
As the Government plans to revitalise struggling high streets, the village is continuing to thrive despite tough economic conditions.
More than 90 per cent of units in Birstall are occupied by businesses and trading.
Chairwoman of Birstall’s Chamber of Trade Anne Thompson believed the figures were no surprise considering the businesses’ relationships with customers.
She said: “We have a lot of independent traders and each knows their customer base.
“Shops in Birstall have a good one-to-one customer service and that benefits our close knit community.
“Everyone knows everyone and it is all about building up strong relationships.”
Five units in the village, which include sites in Low Lane, Nelson Street and Market Place, have been left vacant.
However two buildings in Market Place are currently being refurbished as two firms look to expand their business.
Mrs Thompson believed a big factor in Birstall’s success was the elderly community.
She said: “We offer a variety of shops and do not have many big brand stores.
“Older people tend not to want to travel that far for their shopping and can be put off slightly with supermarkets.
“The travelling and the costs of taxi fares can be very off putting for some people.”
Mrs Thompson, who owns fish and chip shop, Sea Spray, claimed good public transport was vital for customers to visit the village.
“To get into Birstall, they can get on a bus, come in and pick up what they need from the market,” she added. “They can visit other shops which are close by then jump back on the bus and go home.”
Mrs Thompson, who has been trading for seven years, said the number of empty units had remained fairly constant over the years. She also believed businesses had continued to stay “up-to-date” with customers’ needs.