'Anything independents can do together has got to be good'
Husband and wife team, Laurence and Nina Swan, took over the Hands Tea Room on Abbey Street 11 years ago.
The pair, who also run Hands of Bath and the Bath Bun, are so determined to stay ahead of the competition they have plans to expand the Bath Bun and refurbish Hands into a Georgian tea room.
Mrs Swan said: "As an independent we have to be a lot cleverer than in the past. There are a lot of eateries in Bath, so we have to sharpen our attraction."
Mr Swan, who is a member of the Bath BID and was part of a campaign several years ago to boost independent trade, called Use Me or Lose Me, said more needs to be done.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He said: "The opening of more big names is strangling Bath.
"Everyone is struggling at the moment. It's very difficult to galvanise a lot of independents. A lot of them have been here a long time and have tried and tried, and failed.
"It would be great if a lot more initiative was shown towards the independents. It would be great if every Thursday the city could say parking is free."
Nic Bottomley, and his wife Juliette, gave up successful legal careers in London and Prague to open Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in John Street six years ago.
Mr Bottomley said independent stores like his award-winning bookshop were doing well, but encouraged more to work together.
He said: "I think we are coping pretty well. There's closures across the board, national chains and independents.
"If you look at Bath and compare it with all of the cities there is an extremely vibrant independent sector and a lot of customers realise that and taken advantage of it."
He added initiatives such as the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) were helping small businesses.
He said: "I was sceptical when the BID started but it seems to be coming up with tangible ideas and giving assistance to businesses.
"I think anything independents can do together has got to be good, whether that's through social media or working creatively together or using each other. When we host our author events we use local caterers."