Small independent shops can continue to thrive in one north Cumbrian town, that is the message of a local councillor and the former owner of a successful shop.

Bron-ja of Wigton was officially handed over to its new owners on Wednesday, with former owners Jane Hollick and Bronja Twentyman selling the business to Linda Smith.

Also the owner of House of Linda Ann in Whitehaven and a former Bron-ja customer, Lisa will bring knowledge of the industry and the business to the role. Jane and Bronja will continue to help Linda for as long as their help is needed, say the pair.

The former owners of 15 years will continue to help with the transition throughout January and will also help with ordering for the autumn season, which will be purchased in January and February.

“It shows that small indepedent shops can continue to thrive and continue to do well,” explained Jane.

Asked what has it been like to hand over the shop, Jane said: “It has been hard. We created it so it is very special to us.

“We have felt quite strange being off at Christmas, because it has been nice to be off, but we are thinking that we are usually selling at this time of year.”

“We both feel quite strange.”

Joseph Cowell, who is a town councillor for Wigton, said: “It is a good thing that the shop will remain open, it shows the confidence in Wigton’s high street, which is good.

“The people of Wigton will be grateful that new owners will be coming in and taking over an existing long-term business, which will now continue right into the future.

 “The town council would like to show its appreciation to Jane and Bronja for the effort they have put into the town over the years, particularly Jane who has been heavily involved in a number of projects for the town.

“We would like to thank them for the effort they have put in.”

Asked how important is it to ensure Wigton’s independent businesses remain in the town, Mr Cowell said: “It is vital. It will be taken over by a bona fide trader, which is good for the town.

“We have got good independent traders that people rely on. If there is any chance they will be in trouble, we need to help them.

“Wigton is known for its small businesses such as Bron-ja and the type of trade they bring to the town.

“It is vital we keep these businesses, that help keep Wigton what it is.”

The success of this business comes amid continued success of the Wigton Facelift scheme, which helps to part fund improvements to shop and home fronts in Wigton town centre.

Funding applications are still being encouraged. Anyone interested is asked to visit the Market Hall for information.