Name: Lowri Roberts and Linda Roberts

Business name: Siop Cwlwm

Opening hours:Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am until 3.30pm

When did you open your business and why?

WE STARTED trading in 2010, so we’re celebrating 10 years in business at the moment. We did have lots planned to mark it but everything has been put on hold for now. We started things with a website first and then started on the outside market before a unit came up in the indoor market in August 2010.

There was a Polish shop on Albion Hill back in those days, and I thought to myself that Oswestry is a town full of minority languages – Polish being one and Welsh being another – so I thought, if there’s a Polish shop doing well, I wonder would a Welsh shop work? I put that question out on my Facebook page and there was really positive feedback. Being a Welsh speaker in Oswestry, I saw a gap I suppose.

Why in this location?

I WAS living here at the time. My mum lives in Penybontfawr and I’m originally from Penybontfawr, and when I was little, Oswestry was the nearest big town to us, and there is a large rural speaking area around here. It serves a lot of Welsh places across the border – of course it is different at the moment because of the five-mile rule, but normally it pulls customers from a massive geographical area.

Tell us about your business

IT’S a Welsh language shop, so we sell Welsh books, cards, music and gifts.

My mother and I are both first language Welsh, so we know there’s a demand for it, because we are the customers in a way. Although on a map there is a border, languages don’t respect a line on a map globally. So if you compare a place like Oswestry to some places just over the border into Wales, you’re likely to hear more Welsh being spoken here than some places actually in Wales.

We’re not just here for Welsh-speaking customers, a lot of them might have Welsh relatives, want to learn the language or just find out more, and we can help them with that. We can signpost people to the right places”, so if we can’t help directly, we know where to show people to so they can find out more, and I think that service is important.

It’s really important to me that people know language isn’t something that divides us, it’s something that unites us – we haven’t got lots of red dragons and flags in the shop, because people who aren’t Welsh might not feel as though it’s aimed at someone else. We want people to feel included and we don’t want anyone to think our shop isn’t for them just because they don’t speak Welsh.

What is your proudest moment?

I THINK recently the fact that we as a business have been able to support people home-schooling. With the virus closing the schools suddenly, we felt quite helpless, but then all of a sudden there was an influx of orders for children’s books from across the country, because we are one of the few places that sells the books online.

Overall I’m proud to be able to promote something I’m passionate about and to be able to do it in such a positive environment like we have in the market.

Any strange requests?

It ISN’T really a request as such, but I have been asked “What’s the point? Everyone speaks English” and to me that’s quite sad and strange that someone could ask that to a business – it has only happened a few times, but it is surprising when it does. But I do enjoy having the conversation with them that follows on from that question.