Harrogate's new shopping 'quarter' is launched in historic row

Launching Prince Albert Row in Harrogate - Sarah Woods of Woods Fine Linens with the new leaflet and business owners on the parade of shops. (Picture Gerard Binks)
Launching Prince Albert Row in Harrogate - Sarah Woods of Woods Fine Linens with the new leaflet and business owners on the parade of shops. (Picture Gerard Binks)

A group of some of Harrogate's most prestigious shops have come together independently to form a new retail mini 'quarter' in Harrogate.

Now known as Prince Albert Row, the mini quarter is located on the section of Station Parade facing Everyman cinema and Library Gardens.

Already, the new grouping has launched its own professionally-produced brochure in black and gold and is calling on local authorities to do more for independent traders in Harrogate.

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Housed in a Grade II listed building, the Row has existed as a shopping area since the Victorian era.

Featuring one of the last remaining cast iron veranda in Harrogate, as well as the old craven dairy, now re-imagined as ‘The Factory Building’, the Row’s long history is remarkable even by Harrogate's standards.

It is now the home to the likes of Rigby & Peller, Helen James Flowers, Poliform North, William Woods Linen, Stephen Neal Interiors, The Phoenix Lounge, Bang & Olufsen and West Row hairdressers.

Proclaiming Prince Albert Row as "Harrogate’s destination for the discerning visitor seeking luxury and style", the new quarter says it is backing the Independent Harrogate group set up in the summer to campaign for more free parking in Harrogate town centre and a bigger say in the workings of Harrogate Business Improvement District.

A spokesperson for Prince Albert Row said: "Prince Albert Row is a wonderful example of what can be achieved by landlords, tenants and retailers working together on a refurbishing and marketing program to enhance a fine listed building which will help regenerate part of the high street by offering something that Harrogate can be proud of - specialist independent businesses that will entice visitors to the town.

"Prince Albert Row fully supports Independentharrogate.org in their aims and quest for independent retailers to be included on the board of the Harrogate BID.

"It also wants to encourage Harrogate Borough Council to make Harrogate a uniquely special destination for Independent shopping and support an element of free town centre parking which will encourage visitors to the town."

The new quarter has been at least partly inspired by a recent success story in York.

Facing challenging times and shrinking footfall in their part of York, the independent shops, cafes and businesses along Bishopthorpe Road parade decided to form a traders association called Bishy Road in 2010.

It has proven a massive success, its strategy of promoting Bishy Road's character as a quirky but civilised place to shop, live, socialise and work street parties and events involving the local community proving an award-winning success.

Donna Rose of Rigby & Peller lingerie stylists on Prince Albert Row said: "We all know about the high street struggles we have in the retail and now Harrogate is no different, as we have many retailers closing down.

"York had have a slightly out of town shopping area called Bishopthorpe Road or Bishy Road, a few years ago this was a rundown area, now it is a very lucrative vibrant shopping area.

"As we are situated just away from the main area, we have decided on Prince Albert Row to put our name on the map, especially as we have so many events happening in Harrogate.

"Our first initiative is our Shopping Destination Brochure.

"As a row of businesses, we have all had input into creating this and self-financed.

"It will be placed in the Harrogate Tourist Information Centre and selected Hotels.

"Hopeful we can follow the same story as Bishy Road in York."

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