Two former teachers are hopeful they can breathe new life into a Wiltshire town centre after opening their new store.

Jenny Brady and her sister-in-law Clare Burt opened Bertie B’s Home and Lifestyle, at Cross Hayes in Malmesbury, on July 15 to bring another independent shop to the town.

The pair wanted to offer customers a “bricks and mortar” home interiors shop where they could also have a “human interaction.”

Before going into business together they had spent almost 30 years in education.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Bertie B's Home and LifestyleBertie B's Home and Lifestyle (Image: Bertie B's Home and Lifestyle)Mrs Brady worked in primary schools around the country for 28 years while Mrs Burt spent time working in a nursery.

But they became determined to set up an independent store after witnessing the impact of the pandemic on local businesses.

Mrs Brady added: “It has been an eyeopener because Covid was like a sledgehammer and there are more High Street units left empty now, that was a driving force for us.

“There is a place for online shopping, but people still like to come in and see and feel things, and have a human interaction.

“We settled in Malmesbury and love the town, part of living here is being able to walk to the shops and it would be devastating if that wasn’t there anymore.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Inside Bertie B's Home and LifestyleInside Bertie B's Home and Lifestyle (Image: Bertie B's Home and Lifestyle)Want to see fewer adverts and more exclusives on the Gazette & Herald? Become a digital subscriber now for just £5 for five months

Despite opening their shop after a challenging few years for local businesses, Mrs Brady has been pleased with the response from residents and customers.

The 50-year-old said: “I think it’s been really good and we’ve had positive feedback for the most part and a decent turnover.

“I know we’ve had to restock in most areas and that’s a good indicator for us, we’re finding stock that sells and trying to support British brands and products and those closer to home as far as we can.”

This stock includes a range of homeware goods such as kitchen and dining products, bath and body goods, children’s toys, and some clothing.

While the pair were thrown in at the deep end as new business owners, for Mrs Brady the challenge has been a dream for a long time.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Inside Bertie B's Home and LifestyleInside Bertie B's Home and Lifestyle (Image: Bertie B's Home and Lifestyle)“This was always something I had wanted to do”, she added.

“I enjoy the interaction and the people facing part of selling.

“We’ve enjoyed learning about setting up a business and setting up something new, it’s that time of life where we wanted to try something new and it’s been really good.”