Famous Harrogate shop 'overwhelmed' by messages of support

Nostalgia - Jesper's stationery store in the 1960s on Oxford Street.
Nostalgia - Jesper's stationery store in the 1960s on Oxford Street.

The highly-respected owner of Harrogate’s most famous retail names in the town centre says he has been overwhelmed by messages of support since his family-run shop went up for sale.

Peter Jesper said it was still business as usual at the long-standing stationery store in a prime spot on Oxford Street until a new owner was found to take it forward.

Two generations of a famous family firm - Father Charles and son Peter Jesper in their Oxford Street store in 2019.

Two generations of a famous family firm - Father Charles and son Peter Jesper in their Oxford Street store in 2019.

But the reaction of customers since the family made the announcement has served to emphasise how important its was that the shop which first opened its doors in 1901 should carry on trading.

He said: “We have been overwhelmed with all the lovely messages we’ve received since announcing the family’s retirement from the business.

“It’s still business as usual at Jespers and the shop is very much open while we work towards passing on the reins to a new custodian.

“It’s reinforced to us how important a part Jespers has played in Harrogate’s retail history, and we hope it can continue to play a role in the changing retail landscape of the 21st century.”

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The decision to look for a buyer to hand over the three-storey Jespers to had been taken with a “little sadness as well as buckets of immense pride.”

The “Fine Writing Pens and Stationery” store has been a part of Harrogate’s retail heritage for 118 years.

In that time the business has passed through four generations of a family that has put quality, tradition and the customer at the heart of everything it does.

Jespers did not start its distinguished life in pens and paper.

Founded in 1901 by Peter Jesper’s Great Grandfather Foster Barrett Jesper, it had already been trading for more than 50 years before the second generation Jesper, Dennis first introduced stationery to this renowned engraving business.

Peter himself began working full-time in the family pen shop 40 years ago when a first-class stamp cost just 10p.

His father Charles, now aged 79, has continued to help out at Christmas and Peter’s three children George, Vicky and Dom have all spent time behind the counter sharing their mutual passion for fine writing instruments with customers.

With the next generation settled in other careers, Peter and his wife Kate are looking forward to slowing down, albeit only a little.

Mr Jesper said: “Although my family and I are retiring, we would love to see the Jespers name and heritage continue long into the future, and hope our customers will support the business as it moves on to the next chapter with a new owner.

“The family took the difficult decision to retire hoping it would not be the end for Jespers.

“There is an exciting opportunity for someone to build on the heritage that has been such a big part of our family for so long.”

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