Retail is on its knees, restaurants are closing faster than you can say avo on toast and we’re all going to Hell in a handcart because of Brexit/Trump etc – or so the press would have us believe.
And if you look around any major city, it seems like it might be true, as well known high street shops and big name restaurants close their doors on an almost daily basis. And if you have visited any large chain recently it is hardly surprising. Vast, soulless spaces with uninspiring visual merchandise and predictable stock, as well as average, over priced food with the same interiors from Edinburgh to Exeter – are enough to make self respecting consumer either not bother, or seek out more interesting alternatives.
Greedy landlords and small business rates have made it almost impossible for entrepreneurs to open new business’s in cities like London and New York and the knock on effects are interesting, as young people looking for new opportunities and Boomers looking for a lifestyle change, are looking beyond the obvious, to open innovative shops and restaurants in alternative locations.
Over the past few months I’ve been hearing lots about Whitby and Bridlington in Yorkshire and interesting new businesses in Margate and the Kent coast are popping up on an almost daily basis.
Visiting Connecticut this week, proved that similar things have been happening in the US for some time. New Preston in Connecticut was established as a railroad stop in the nineteenth century and has evolved into a lifestyle shopping destination over the last few years, catering for the area’s well-heeled locals and visitors from the surrounding areas.
The tiny village got me more excited about shopping than I had for a long time, with its selection of carefully curated lifestyle stores. My favourites being Privet House (think Anthropologie X 1000), Plain Goods (better quality COS with homeware and loads more style) and Pergola (Japanese influenced natural curiosities, weathered antiques, botanical books & prints, home fragrance and objects).
Back in the UK, I’m excited to visit the newly opened Rose Hotel in Deal (another place everyone is talking about) which looks like the perfect place for a weekend by the coast.