The counter-revolution continues

Quality independents are tentatively creeping back into Wellington. Here are three recent additions to look out for…

Following retail in Wellington can feel like following one of those football teams which has wildly fluctuating fortunes. Oh the highs and the lows! A few of Wellington’s independents have closed in recent months, including a couple which had barely been around five minutes. So it was reassuring this weekend to see three new arrivals since I was last home a fortnight earlier.

Not that they’re exactly new – all are existing businesses, but are expanding into larger, more prominent premises. That in itself is good news, and means we can probably be confident they won’t be folding in a few months. These are people with a plan and know what they’re doing.

Francis James 1

First is Francis James. In a past life this business was The Card Gallery, and most recently Upstairs Downstairs, and occupied tiny premises in Market Street. Proprietor Veronica has now decided to move into a much larger unit in Bell Street, and it’s been fitted out brilliantly. There’s much more stock than before, including home wares, bags and clothing, as well as more extensive art cards and jewellery ranges.

Francis James 3

Francis James 2

Just a street away, in Crown Street, Tinks Treasures has moved into the old Wellington News building. At the moment they’re just in the one shop, but work is continuing on the back unit (which looks out onto Bell Street) which will ultimately be a workshop space. Pam, who’s in charge, has been trading her beads online for a while – her Facebook Group has over 2000 likes – and she’s now taken a leap into real-world retail.

Tinks Treasures 1

Tinks Treasures 2

Last of the trio is A to Z Interiors, a fitted kitchen, bathroom and bedroom firm that’s moved from the outer limits of upper Church Street to the pulsating epicentre of Market Street. This is a street which needs a shot in the arm – my dad, Ken the Butcher, looks out of his window on a Nail Bar and a Cheque Centre – so this family business of skilled tradesmen two doors down is definitely a step in the right direction.

A to Z Interiors 1

A to Z interiors 2

Wellington has a long way to go to convince local people that it’s set on a course to thrive rather than just survive.  But with three smart looking retail businesses opening their doors in just the last two weeks, maybe we should be cautiously optimistic. We now need to encourage others to take that leap – to see a vacant unit in the middle of Wellington as an opportunity; to think of all the things missing from our town that people so desperately want, and to imagine those things in that vacant unit – and then, just like these three, investing in making that a reality.