For a couple of years now retro and vintage fashion has increased in popularity. With high street stores disappearing fast in our area like H&M people seem to be turning to the local charity shops to pick up the latest fashion. In other surrounding areas we have seen vintage shops pop up, like the very successful “Poorboy Boutique” on Humber Street in Hull, which I’d highly recommend if you’re looking for something different at a reasonable price. We have also seen Vintage Fairs at The Baths Hall and Café INDIEpendent. H&M was probably my favourite clothes shop in the town centre and whilst we still have big names like Primark and Topshop in prime locations and the brands like Select and New Look it’s just sometimes not worth going to town if you’re looking for something to wear.
Last year I discovered an independent shop down one of the side streets near to Lindsey Lodge hospice shop called Oddball Arts & Gifts and it was a little hope that independent stores were giving town a go but then sadly that closed down before Christmas.
So back to my first point, Charity shops. I have seen an increase in charity shop shopping in the area. I know some people who wouldn’t have dreamt of buying other people’s hand me down clothes but now it’s trendy it seems socially acceptable to be seen coming out a charity shop with bags in your hand and your head up, with some exceptions of course as it’s not for everyone.
The town centre has some great charity shops with some real bargains and the Age UK one on market hill in particular, well the past few times I’ve been in there it is absolutely packed with people looking for a bargain. With a 10 person long queue waiting to pay and shoppers raiding the racks for their £1 bargains. It’s a relativity small shop for the popularity it attracts. Ashby high street is also a great place for a day of charity shop bargain hunting.
Not only has the amount of people using charity shops increased but the age range shopping in them has broadened. I think also the arrival of the Sue Ryder charity shop to the Skippingdale retail park changed the opinions of some shoppers to try out buying second hand as on the exterior it aims to resemble your average high street shop.
It has become apparent that shops in the town centre have inhabited together to survive in the same spaces. With stores inside stores, for instance Oldrids is home to a few different brands and Pound shop in town has invited Pep & CO inside to sell clothes from the back. Many of the Spar shops host Post offices & popular fast food chains.
If you walk through our town centre now, there appears to still be life and at points it still seems to be attracting shoppers but what shop are they using? I love those popular bargain shops as much as the next person but I’m not sure we need quite so many when they are already present in the retail parks around Scunthorpe. I would like to see more clothing shops or small independent businesses selling a variety of things.
In my opinion it is great news that the market is going to become a more central and modernised place to visit as I do like to visit the market when I’m in town and I think this could attract a lot more foot fall from the bus station and multi-storey carpark.
I remember seeing an article not so long ago saying X amount of money was being put into improvement and regeneration of the town centre. I saw this headline and thought “Oh Great” but then reading on realised it was just the church square area with the council offices and UTC University building and not so much the actual town centre shopping. Although I am looking forward to seeing the new library transformation, I hope there is still some improvements to make the town centre more attractive and inviting.
Do you remember the days of Hullabaloo, Revolution and Record Village. The variation of shops we once knew are slowly disappearing over the years and months. Perhaps due to retail parks? Where you won’t be fined for parking if you don’t make it back dot on the time or you’re 10 mins earlier than the 2pm free parking allowance or is it Online shopping?
Personally I still like to look at the clothes I’m buying and it seems a lot more effort to scroll through pages and pages to find something I want to buy.
So the questions are….
Do you go to town and what for?
How could the town centre be improved?
What was or is your favourite town centre shop from past or present?