How social media helped breath new life into two independent Harrogate retailers

Georgia Duffy of Imagined Things.
Georgia Duffy of Imagined Things.

Two independent traders in the heart of Harrogate have thanked the public for their support following pleas for help.

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The owner of the Imagined Things bookshop and the people behind the Harrogate Tea Rooms, both situated in Westminster Arcade on Parliament Street, issued messages on Social Media last week urging people to come and find them because their business had been so poor.

After several quiet months of trading,Georgia Duffy, the owner of Imagined Things was left astounded when an online post of her day’s takings drew support from across the world.

Originally unsure about sharing that Imagined Things had experienced its ‘worst day’ of trading last week, she was stunned at the response.

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Her decision to tweet it, appealing for support after making just £12.36 in a day, struck a chord with thousands and has since achieved a reach of more than a million people.

Speaking to the Advertiser after new customers had filled her shop, and with orders coming in from as far afield as America, Georgia said: “I am absolutely delighted and astounded, I am not quite sure I believe it, or have had time to let it sink in how amazing it is.

“I keep looking at those statistics for Twitter and looking at people in the shop and thinking how phenomenal this is.”

She wanted to highlight how residents could help support independent businesses within the town.

Georgia said: “It doesn’t take a lot for us, if people in Harrogate bought a few books from us a year, we would be fine.

“We don’t need everyone to spend fortunes.

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She added: “I don’t think people realise they can have such a massive impact, and make such a difference for independents.

“You might feel like you don’t have any power, but this is not the case when it comes to businesses like ours."

The owners of The Harrogate Tea Rooms explained online how they had seen no customers at all on one particular Friday.

Carrie Wilkinson wrote: “Friday afternoon in Harrogate and we’ve got no customers. Who’d be a struggling independent? Due to lots of requests for our location, we are situated in

Westminster Arcade, 1st floor, so there are just a few steps, which is next to Debenhams on Parliament Street Or should I say opposite Nandos? Most people know where that is.”

However following on from the global response to neighbouring independent bookstore, Imagined Things’, the cafe revealed they too have been left beaming by the response to their appeal.

They wrote: “Overwhelmed is an understatement. Today we have reached nearly 18000 people, with nearly 200 shares and nearly 150 new Facebook friends and still rising!”

They added “Tonight we are beaming, daring to hope that our small independent business might start to turn and maybe we can survive the storm. Thank you for your positivity, support and for caring. We don’t know what we’ve done to deserve all this. We shall endeavour to keep The Harrogate Tea Rooms as a uniquely different, family-run Independent for as long as you are happy to enjoy homemade cakes.”