INDEPENDENT businesses are thriving in a Southend street which is becoming like “its own Leigh Broadway”.

Alexandra Street, near the High Street, in Southend, has become a street full of independent businesses over the past few years.

Owners are beginning to see the success built in the street which has become like a “mini shopping district”.

Fiona Foster is the owner of By the Sea Vintage, which is celebrating its second birthday this year.

The shop was set up by four friends Fiona Foster, Lin Donlan, Sarah Greenwood and Jane Wakelin who met at a vintage fair six years ago and later joined forces to open a shop in Alexandra Street.

Fiona said: “We are really happy and are hanging on in there. We always want more people, but it takes time and we have settled in really well.

“It is a great community area; it is becoming its own independent street in a way. It is like its own small Broadway.

“There aren’t many shops like us at all predominately vintage which I think contributes to the success.

“The only downer is the charging of the parking as that puts a lot of people off sadly but we were given one day of free parking last year and the street was so busy.

“We also had the City Jam event here, which was amazing. Events like that also help people realise what we have to offer here especially in Alexandra Street.”

A number of other popular businesses in Alexandra Street include Pulp Kitchen, Books-on-Sea, and The Alex to name a few.

Books-on-Sea first opened in 2019 by a passionate bibliophile, but in 2021, it was taken over by Philip McNaughton.

Philip has since seen the shop get busier and busier as the business settles.

He said: “It has been a lot busier this year, as last year we were still getting it up and running.

“It definitely makes a big difference when you have more of these independent businesses as you feel like a little shopping district.

“People can come and go to more than one shop as it becomes a route for people to visit. I think it does work really well.

“There is a lot of variety, but it would always be good to have a couple more shops too.”