Our final stop is at Abbotts Travel, the oldest store in the high street. Opened in 1957 by current manager Julian’s father, it began life selling coach trips but became a modern agency during the early 1960s. A shop overhaul in 2013 created an airy open-plan layout, neat brochure displays and quirky turquoise chairs. Julian also owns the unit next door and rents it out to Costa for extra revenue. Danny Sperling, head of business development, shows us the store’s sleek new website and points out the destination of the month blog section; customers write about their holidays and are rewarded with a Travel Listography book. The team is also encouraged to blog about every event they attend to keep up a constant dialogue with the clients. Shelly and Julie once attended a This is Canada event, sending over their notes to Danny at 11pm. By 8am the next day they were tweaked and live on the website. Abbotts also has a weekly destination feature in the Essex Central Magazine, pushing the store on a circulation of 46,000 copies a month. Business is good for Abbotts, with a 3% year-on-year growth over the past eight years. The team have great relationships with customers. One goes as far as to say that Julian saved his dad’s life. A father was due to fly to the US for a 70th birthday celebration but was deemed too ill; he needed a blood transfusion and mightn’t have survived the flight. Julian contacted the airport, got him off the plane and arranged for another post-operation flight 48 hours later.