Each month, more and more specialist shops in every sector are opening up, feeding a desire by a wide sector of the British shopping public to move away from the increasingly faceless chain stores and anonymous online shopping sites and experience a personal retail experience thought long dead.
Time After Time partner Dave Ireland: ‘We strive to present the best product we can at an affordable price. We sell quality vintage fashion and accessories and I believe we are able to sustain and grow our customer base because we hand-pick each and every piece that comes into the shop and our background knowledge of our stock gives the customer an emotional connection they might not find elsewhere.’
The independent shopper tends to seek out the unusual, the more eclectic and will typically source a large proportion of their entire shop with the smaller retailers, including food markets, clothes and gift shopping, eschewing the chains for the personal touch of the independent.
Sourcing locally reduces air miles and everything that goes with it. Responsible shopping. A little greener, a little more customer satisfaction.
Dave Ireland again: ‘We style our vintage shop to have the feel of a designer boutique, but with that touch of nostalgia associated with vintage and retro fashion. We play music from the Jazz Age which immediately brings background colour to the shop. Indeed, we also have a radio show on the local community station to reinforce the vintage lifestyle we offer.’
Stroud itself is typical of many small towns across the UK. For a number of years, shops were closing and the streets were full of boarded-up empty premises. Local initiatives then ensured that each empty shop window could be utilised by art groups and other community groups to exhibit and advertise, bringing much needed life back to often desolate sections of the town. These days, those empty shops are becoming harder to find.
As Time After Time approaches its fourth birthday, we also appear to be seeing some positivity on the economic front, a renewed confidence, a slightly brighter future. The high street shopper has learned to choose more carefully, look at the worth and longevity of their purchases and above all, to value the unique experience of the small independent stores.
Dave Ireland: ‘Everyone has to go that extra mile to make the difference. I often think that if we can survive through this recession, then we can only imagine the good times ahead when we finally emerge into the sunshine…’
Find Time After Time at http://www.stroudvintage.com