WHEN you visit Greenodd, one thing that immediately hits you is just how loyal the locals are to each other.

Main Street, home to many traditional shops, is the central hub of activity, and in the village store and post office - now a part-time outreach service after cuts last year - owner Janet Willis believes the current economic downturn could be helping local businesses.

She said: “When people do not have as much money, they tend to go to the local shops more and only get what they need. I think Greenodd is an attractive place for someone to live - it has all the amenities you need.”

Mrs Willis is keen to sell local produce in her shop, including foods from The Pudding Room at Water Yeat, Bramble Thyme at Greenodd, and The Wooden Spoon Fridge at Coniston, as well as cards from local photographers such as David Briggs, of Penny Bridge, Caroline Peet, of Satterthwaite, and Andy Weber, of Haverthwaite.

“It’s very important for everyone to support each other,” she said.

One villager who agrees with that is Mark Watson, who along with his wife Angela opened up Greenodd Village Bakery almost ten years ago.

“We rely on local trade and your product has to be good to bring people in,” he said. “For our pies, we use meat from the village butcher Peter Hutchinson over the road, fruit from the village store, flour from Carr’s, just up the road at Silloth, and we use Farrer’s Coffee in Kendal.

“Our stock sells itself really - a lot of the customers will be buying meat pies which were made using their own animals, so it all works its way around.”

But Mr Watson admitted there were challenges for the business.

He said: “This street used to be the main road through Greenodd before they put in the bypass and made it a dead end. There used to be a bus stop right outside. It is increasingly hard because these days supermarkets have bakeries.”

And trade has really taken off at The Ship Inn for Scales dairy farmer Stuart Webster and school headteacher Pauline Lambert, who took over the pub from liquidation three and half years ago. They have built up a loyal customer base, juggling the pub with their day jobs.

Mr Lambert said: “We have been trying to do it step by step - we did not want to start doing things and not do them properly. We sell real ale and one of my ambitions was to get in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide for Britain, and we achieved that last year and this year.

“We have only recently started doing food, and we had a good trade before, but it was something we always wanted to do when we took over here and it’s going well. We use local produce, including meat from Peter Hutchinson.

“We do pensioner’s lunches on a Thursday and that is proving very popular, with people coming over from Barrow especially for it. We get a lot of people who visit and come back again, and they tell they friends about us.”

The latest addition to the village is ex-pub landlord Ken Burrows, who has just opened Crakeside Fish and Chips in the unlikeliest of places - a derelict building once used as a public toilet.

He explained that after leaving the pub trade last May, he was looking for a new challenge.

“I used to take the dogs for a walk along the river here, and I saw this and thought ‘what a great building, and it has its own car park.’ When I had the pub, the biggest seller there was fish and chips, so I got the idea for a chippy.”

Mr Burrows bought the building and work began to transform it - and business is already booming.

“It had has a tremendous response from the villagers and locals, and from passing trade. They say ‘what a great place to have a chippy.’ And many of the tourists say they will be back as they travel up here three or four times a year on holidays.”

He added: “I just saw it as a good business opportunity. I feel we have done a good thing for the community and for Cumbria - bringing in passing trade and helping tourism. There is now a facility here where there wasn’t one before.”

Next door Henry Armer and Son is getting closer to opening their new 15,000 square feet state-of-the-art facility, a £1 million development which will create nine new jobs.

From its beginnings as a blacksmith in 1914, the firm has become a major player in agricultural engineering and grounds-care from its base in Leece, near Ulverston.

Harry Armer said: “The building looks good - with its stone fronting it fits in well to the local area. We are on track again with the project after battling against the bad weather, which slowed us down for a while.

“Greenodd is a great central location for the business. It is only 25 miles from the M6 and about 20 minutes from Kendal so it’s a good area to be in.”