Thanks to The Beatles 1966 immortalisation of it in song Liverpool?s Penny Lane is one of the most well know streets in the world, but how much of an effect is the recession having on this street beneath blue suburban skies? Penny Lane is very much a typical busy suburban thoroughfare with a mix of shops, bars, and houses stretching from its junction with Smithdown Place to North Mossley Hill Road, a perfect place to find out how the recession is biting in local communities. Despite the gloom in the stock markets and a seeming weekly increase in job losses, many of the traders on Penny Lane say they?re yet to notice a significant impact on their businesses.
Colin Rimmer owns a small convenience store on Penny Lane, he says that he has been careful to ensure he stays competitive in the current climate, "I?ve taken steps to try and make sure I?m as competitive as I can be with as many promotions and as many deals as I can because that is the way things have changed," Colin explains.
"Everybody from the very top is now offering sales and discounts and if I don?t do it and everybody else do I will suffer."
However Colin hasn't noticed any drop off in trade and thinks that he may end up better off if people change their habits "Maybe I benefit in some ways.
"Maybe people don?t go out as much because they can?t afford meals out, but they can afford takeaways and a bottle of wine, so in that sense if I can cater for that, then it?s a way of reacting to the changing market.
"People still have to eat, they still have to drink.
"We hope that people use us because we?re local, friendly and personal."
'It won't affect us'
At Shades hair salon co-owners Paula Jones and Pauline Flanders did notice a drop in business over the Christmas period, "This Christmas and New Year was our worst since we started nearly ten years ago," Paula said.
"So obviously that has affected the next two months because normally the Christmas period leads in to January and February."
"January and February have been no worse off than normal though because hopefully we?ve got new clients from Allerton Road where a couple of hairdressing shops have shut down."
The perception that times are hard has had an effect though, "The television all the time is going on about the crunch so people were afraid to spend," Pauline Flanders says.
"But, then most people who did come in said 'It won't affect us'.
"Since Christmas we?ve noticed we?ve got new clientele because with the shortage of money we?re cheaper than the ones that have closed so the clients have come to us, which is better for us."
Pauline also thinks that the salon will continue to thrive over the next year, "I think we?ll pick back up to the way we were to be honest because it?s already started.
"I?m confident we will pick up, we?ve still got our regulars and new people."
"The only thing we have found is the beauty side of it hasn?t done that well.
"Everyone I?ve spoken to, they?ll come in for their hair but they?ll leave the beauty bit that little bit longer."
Jane O?Mahoney has run Penny Lane Flowers for the last two years, although her family have been florists for generations, "My great grandmother stood at the cemetery gates in Allerton Road when trams were running up and down and then my Nan and my auntie, and it got passed down to me and my sister," recalls Jane.
"I still do the cemetery, but I?ve always wanted my own shop but just trying to find a good location is really hard and this one came up, so I took this up.
"Business has been steady, September was quiet due to people being on holiday in August, but then the Christmas period it started building up from then .
"And then it?s Valentine?s Day and Mother?s Day so I don?t think it has affected our shop at all."
At Penny Lane Wine Bar, Assistant Manager Dave Ingham has noticed an increase in customers in the last few months although the recession is on many people?s minds, "Some of our regulars have lost their jobs so some of them do talk about it," he says.
"We still have been really busy, even after Christmas when we?re expecting the normal January lull; we did a lot more food than we did last year.
"We seem to be picking up new business and all our regulars still come in.
"We did lose a bit of business when the smoking ban came in but the drinkers we lost seem to have been bounced by the people coming in for food.
"To be honest the first week or two people are unemployed tend to be very good for our business because they?ll come in and drink during the daytime when they would have been in work."