Shop Local: Harpenden retailers call for customer support

Threads Harpenden Picture: Maya Derrick/Archant

Threads Harpenden Picture: Maya Derrick/Archant - Credit: Archant

Retailers in neighbouring Harpenden, which has a much smaller shopping precinct than St Albans, are also feeling the pinch this year.

Threads Harpenden Picture: Maya Derrick/Archant

Threads Harpenden Picture: Maya Derrick/Archant - Credit: Archant

With fewer independent retailers, those which have survived lockdown need customers’ support over the Christmas period, and have joined our #ShopLocal campaign to promote their offerings.

Lara Wares, who owns gift shop Threads, said: “We have already seen a few businesses close in Harpenden since lockdown, and I’m fearful for how the High Street could look in January.”

She elaborated: “It’s great that you are using your paper to support local businesses at the moment. Reduced footfall, cashflow, disrupted supply chains and trying to plan stock levels and staffing in an uncertain climate are all ongoing challenges. Finding new products with all our tradeshows and buying meetings cancelled has been also been a big headache, but after much online research and support from suppliers and agents, we have managed to source an exciting range of autumn/winter and Christmas products.

“Christmas is the key period for gift retailers like us every year, but this year even more so. With another big rent bill due in December, and a corporation tax bill based on pre-lockdown profits in January, it will be vital that the money we have invested in seasonal stock has resulted in sales.

No 43 in Harpenden hosts pop-up shops.

No 43 in Harpenden hosts pop-up shops. - Credit: Archant

“I saw a board recently saying ‘Shop like the future of your High Street depends on you... because it does’ which really says it all.”

No 43 in Harpenden is a space for pop-up shops to show off their gift ranges.

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Mish Mash owner Tanya Morgan, who has showcased her range of gifts and toys there and at St Albans market, said: “The challenges have been not having places to sell things and not enough footfall in Harpenden.

“I haven’t been buying new stock because I feel in limbo with many events having been cancelled such as Redbourn and St Albans Christmas lights.”

Shelley Hyam, manager of Red boutique, which sells brightly coloured cashmere jumpers and accessories, said: “I think it is important to shop local as people really need something to look forward to this year - people really need brightening up. In a world full of uncertainty we can help cheer them up with gifts for themselves or others.”