Switching off: retailer blames lack of investment in high street as she closes her doors for good (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Switching off: retailer blames lack of investment in high street as she closes her doors for good
THE lights are dimming on an independent Poole High Street shop, whose owner has blamed lack of investment in a struggling area.
Specialist lighting retailer Harbour Lights will shut its doors for the last time at the end of March, bringing an end to a successful and popular business stretching back over 12 years.
Owner Zena Hickson, who has run the shop for seven years said: “Trade has gradually dwindled.”
She said: “Part of it is the economy. But people are always talking about what they are going to do to this part of the High Street and never do anything.
“We were really keen when we first took it on and went to all the Poole town meetings and listened to all the ideas.
"And nothing ever happened to bring people to this part of the High Street.”
As the closing down sale gets underway, she added that her shop in the pedestrianised section was likely to become another charity shop.
Lisa Park, who will lose her job when the shop shuts on March 30 said: “There is no doubt this shop will be missed in the High Street.”
Customers Colin and Anne Howe from Wareham, buying lights for their son’s flat said they were saddened by the closure of an independent retailer.
“It’s a real shame. I can remember when this was a main road and it was a vibrant shopping area,” said Colin. “The quay is nice but in this part you can see the deterioration in the High Street.”
Jonathan Sibbett, pictured chairman of Poole Town Centre Partnership said: “This is disappointing news and part of a national picture. Across the UK we are facing one of the most challenging periods known on the high street for independent and large scale retailers, so the work of PTCP is focussing on delivering practical measures to help and support the town.
“This ranges from raising the profile of the town to improve footfall through a range of initiatives such as improving the look and feel of the High Street with new distinctive tree lighting, floral displays and dressing the town with quality flags and bunting.”
He said promotions and events throughout the year such as at Easter, Santa’s arrival at Christmas and the lantern parade, a new town centre shoppers map and the Brilliance art event in March are designed to attract more people and they were working with the council to encourage more flexibility and much a wider range of businesses.
However is it not all doom and gloom , with two new shops opening up nearby before Christmas, a sweet shop and a greengrocer.