LOTS of new businesses have opened in Winchester and surrounding areas over the year, from popular fast-food chains to new independents.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis and the challenges being faced by many businesses across the country, at least ten new businesses have opened their doors.

These businesses include:

Sports Direct

Hampshire Chronicle: Sports Direct, The Brooks Shopping CentreSports Direct, The Brooks Shopping Centre (Image: Peter Nicholson)

The latest addition to Winchester’s shopping options is Sports Direct – located on the lower floor of The Brooks Shopping Centre.

Simon Turpin, director and asset manager for Yarrow Estates which took over The Brooks this year, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Sports Direct back to Winchester.

“The Brooks is the perfect location in the city centre for them, where the large unit they wanted, can be provided alongside other great brands, and at a much lower per square foot rent and rates, than on the High Street. We expect to see a significant increase in footfall when they open, which will in turn benefit all our other tenants.”


Hampshire Chronicle: Wenzel's, Winchester High StreetWenzel's, Winchester High Street (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Adding to Winchester’s selection of city centre bakeries is Wenzel’s, a London-born chain that opened in the High Street in August.

Sarah Davis, manager of Winchester Business Improvement District (BID), said: “People always need to have something to eat so I don’t have a problem with anyone coming to the High Street and bringing food.

“We’re not a city with many empty units but every one that is filled is another one off the list. It makes this end of the town come to life a lot more.”

ME Collective

Hampshire Chronicle: ME Collective, St Thomas StreetME Collective, St Thomas Street (Image: Camilla Winter-Moore)

Former café Ashby’s has been transformed from pink into a modern hair salon. ME Collective opened its doors for the first time in St Thomas Street at the beginning of June.

Co-owner Barry Maddocks said: “It feels like I’ve always worked here and that the space has always been a salon. People really appreciate the natural light and I just love how the salon flows.”

La Gastronomia

Hampshire Chronicle: La Gastronomia, Bridge StreetLa Gastronomia, Bridge Street (Image: Newsquest)

An independent “classic Italian restaurant” opened in Bridge Street in February.

La Gastronomia, which has since expanded to have seating upstairs, offers meals and Sicilian produce for customers, with all the food made fresh each day.

Owner Sergio Mitrano said: “The food is in a traditional, very old style. That is what I try to cook.”

House of Boemia

Alresford’s newest bridal boutique opened on Valentine’s Day.

Co-owner Bethany Sharp, 24, said: “We’re very much focused on the more free-spirited, bohemian and non-traditional bride. We wanted to create refreshing, minimalistic looks for our customers.”

Platform 2

Hampshire Chronicle: Platform 2, Romsey Railway StationPlatform 2, Romsey Railway Station (Image: Nick Farthing)

Romsey Railway Station’s café kiosk re-opened after four years as Platform 2, partner café to Platform 1 in Shawford.

The kiosk opened at the end of May following a £10,000 revamp.

Manager Marco Bertacchini said: “The kiosk was 100 per cent missed but not a lot of people are aware it has re-opened.

“There are fairly long-distance trains from Romsey so people do appreciate having a place to eat and drink. It’s good for commuters and the wider community too.”


Hampshire Chronicle: Claire's, Winchester High StreetClaire's, Winchester High Street (Image: Newsquest)

Winchester High Street welcomed jewellery and accessories chain Claire’s in June.

Staff member Chloe Knox, 22, said: “There’s definitely a market here for a Claire’s shop. There are little independent stores, and there’s toy shops, but there isn’t something which brings it all together in one place. And obviously, Claire’s isn’t just for children or girls, it's for everybody.”

Singles Supermarket

Hampshire Chronicle: Singles SupermarketSingles Supermarket (Image: Contributed)

Singles Supermarket, at Dukes Mill next to the bus station, was launched by the Mayor of Romsey, Cllr John Ray in September.

The unique Romsey shop sells everyday items in smaller portions, to reduce waste.

Founder Karen Thorn said: Karen said: “The general idea is to be able to shop like the old days, where you'd go to your local grocery store and buy just what you needed in the smaller portions. This enables you to save on food waste and in turn, saving your pennies too. Kinder to the environment and kinder to your purse.”

Ben’s Pilates

Hampshire Chronicle: Ben's Pilates, Staple GardensBen's Pilates, Staple Gardens (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Ben Andrews previously led dynamic reformer Pilates sessions in London and saw a gap in the market in Winchester for his specialist style.

Mr Andrews said: “It’s been a lifelong dream. This is actually mine. There are lots of gyms here but we’re trying to create a new kind of specialist class environment with the reformer machines.”

Ben’s Pilates opened in Staple Gardens in June.


Hampshire Chronicle: McDonald's, Easton LaneMcDonald's, Easton Lane (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Winchester’s first 24-hour fast food drive-thru opened in the car park of Tesco Extra, in Easton Lane, Winnall.

McDonald’s opened its second Winchester branch in Easton Lane in November, offering more than 100 jobs.

Philip Alsopp, who manages the McDonald’s restaurants in Winchester, Basingstoke and Jersey, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved.

“There’s definitely a gap here for a 24-hour drive-thru. We’re confident that traffic won’t be an issue as we’re in a huge car park.

“We’re still hiring non-stop, we’ve got all kinds of positions available which is great for the local area.”