The hidden gem on Colne’s high street which attracts visitors from overseas

7 July 2023

If you’ve ever ventured up Colne high street, you will no doubt have noticed the beautiful exterior of Birro’s – but have you ever popped inside to see what exactly is in there?

Birro’s has been located on Market Street since 1984, after David Birro set up with his father Brian. The high street has changed a lot since then, but David’s confidence that Colne is the place for his business still remains to this day.

Now joined at the helm by his sons Daniel and Jack, David acknowledges that building up a sustainable business for the future takes time.

“Businesses take years to build a strong customer base and it can be disheartening when a new idea falls flat. Keep trying and eventually you’ll find what works for you and what doesn’t,” David advises.

“Starting a business is exciting and challenging at the same time; if you’re doing something you enjoy, it makes everything a lot easier, especially on the bad days. I’d recommend starting nearly any business in your free time initially, then as the business grows you can transition to full time. This will also give you the opportunity to see if being self-employed is for you.”

Customers from around the world

Almost 40 years down the line, Birro’s has built a loyal customer base. Their wide range of services span shoe repair, leather repair, key cutting, watch repairs, car key programming, watch battery replacement, outdoor products, luxury shoe sales…and much more! It’s almost hard to believe, when you consider the traditional-looking store doesn’t have a huge footprint on the high street. However, it’s clearly made an impact over its 39 years.

Son Daniel continues: “We have plenty of regular customers, a few of which will have been coming in at least 30 years. I believe people return time and again for the quality of work and service we offer. We do have a number of customers from overseas as well, who always make a visit when in England visiting family.”

Daniel recommends visitors, whether local or from further afield, explore the rest of the high street too.

“There’s so many businesses to choose from. I always enjoy going to Tubbs for a quality breakfast or for tea, the food is amazing and the service is excellent. I visit Stell’s Pet Shop pretty much every week to get food for my Border Collie Bella and even a Christmas tree once a year.

“The lads at Coversure are always great when it’s time to sort insurance, probably not one of my favourite things to do, but they make it super easy. Mr Chips and Tiger Thai are always excellent for dinner. Both the butchers Grahame’s and Lawson’s on Market Street are great and always have quality produce. There are loads of other businesses in town that we at Birro’s use regularly and they all offer amazing service. Colne high street really is the best!”

Colne is still the place to be

Jack agrees: “Colne is a fantastic town to be based in, as the high street is always busy with a good mix of independent and chain shops, the people are friendly and Colne is really accessible to customers travelling into town from any direction. The events we have in the town every year always brings in a fresh wave of customers who return time and again.

“The variety of businesses and the level of service and expertise within these businesses you just can’t get online. By supporting your local high street, you are also putting money back into the local community. As well as employing local people, Colne businesses are known for playing a significant role in supporting local community charities and causes, as well as supporting local sports teams through sponsorship.”

Birro’s is keen to welcome customers who place importance on sustainability. Rather than throwing away and buying new, the team at Birro’s urge people to take their items to be repaired, which is often not only more affordable, but of course more environmentally friendly.

“Millions of pairs of shoes end up in landfill every year. If you repair and re-use your footwear you can save money and help the environment. It’s win win,” the team conclude.

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