It is impossible to ignore the ‘doom & gloom’ surrounding the future of our town centres as we know them. It seems that almost every month we witness the demise of yet another ‘household name’ and the latest casualty, a large department store, closing down in small towns like ours, if nothing else, will leave a huge gap in our town centre that needs to be filled. But by what?
The same things have been consistently blamed for the problems of our town centres over the years; parking costs/restrictions, business rates and ‘greedy’ landlords. These things surely do make ‘doing business’ more difficult. However, ‘simplistic’ focus on these issues simply makes it all too easy to ignore the real problem. Sufficient shopper spending in our town centres is just not now taking place due to increasing competition over the years, firstly from the rise of the supermarkets, then out-of-town shopping developments and now, the internet.
It would seem that the only activities that really have a hope of surviving in our town centres in this new reality involve things that can’t actually be purchased ‘virtually’; haircuts and coffee to go! We have seen the rise and rise of ‘dessert’ cafes locally in recent months and these are another example of responding to what consumers are actually demanding of town centres; something that complements their use as a location for spending ‘leisure time’. So can the traditional town centre activity of ‘shopping’ still play a role in this?
Obviously we believe, YES! BUT, we do also know we have to constantly continue to offer something truly UNIQUE that can’t just be found online; hence our recent renewed focus on sourcing a selection of truly one-off ‘vintage’ finds every week, alongside our ‘essentials’, to keep things ‘fresh’ and exciting. We hope you’ll also share in our enjoyment of finding something new in something old!