A SOMERSET businessman has put his faith in high street retail by opening a new shop.
Despite national concerns about the health of town centre shopping, Nelson Ryall has branched into retail.
Mr Ryall, who has been a heating engineer for 28 years, founded Boilertec in 2004.
Last year, the firm, which offers boiler and cooker installation, servicing and repairs, opened a DIY and household goods shop at Westport Trading Estate in Langport.
But in a reverse of a trend by some businesses to move out of town centres, Mr Ryall moved the shop to Bow Street, Langport's main shopping street earlier this year.
He said: "I have often been frustrated in the past by the lack of general DIY and specialist household items available locally.
"I did not want to drive for miles for a light bulb, washing line or picture hook.
"I decided to do something about it and felt that if I wanted to buy locally and support a local business, others would too."
Mr Ryall has given the shop a traditional independent appearance with a colourful frontage and brightly painted vintage style windows. Since opening, the shop has expanded the range of goods on sale and also offers an ordering service for more unusual items.
Mr Ryall said: "I have a strong belief in Langport, and going by the compliments I have received, it appears many others share my views.
"I would like to thank all our customers. It is really pleasing to hear the compliments of the shop frontage, along with how well stocked the shop is.
"But the one I think is most telling is when someone mentions how nice it is to be able to buy locally."
The health of Britain's high streets has been increasingly in the popular spotlight since the Department of Business Innovation and Skills commissioned retail guru Mary Portas to produce a report on town centre retailing. Since her report was published last year Town Teams have been set up in Yeovil, Chard, and Wincanton. They were suggested by Ms Portas as a way of bringing together decision makers in towns to help boost their economies.
Meanwhile, the Langport Area Business Group was reformed in 2011 to promote local trade.
Among activities designed to draw shoppers into the town, the business group has organised local markets and arranged Christmas decorations for the town.