'Time to back Harrogate's shops' - plea

Andy Langshaw, owner of Harrogate Fine Wine Co based in the Montpellier Quarter.
Andy Langshaw, owner of Harrogate Fine Wine Co based in the Montpellier Quarter.

A leading Harrogate independent trader says the town's marketing is lagging behind in the push to ensure the retail sector's future prosperity.

Andy Langshaw, owner of Harrogate Fine Wine Co based in the Montpellier Quarter, said while Harrogate reputation as a whole had never been higher at a national level, there was not enough focus on what it offered in terms of shops.
A key player in Harrogate’s wine and beer retail scene for more than 30 years, Andy said: "Harrogate and Yorkshire have both done really well at marketing themselves as a whole and Harrogate is basking in consistent good press which has put the town firmly on the map of places to visit or live.
"But I just don’t feel we have marketed the retail side of the town as well as we could."
His comments follow a major feature in this newspaper recently in which the town’s Chamber of Commerce and local businesses called for improvements to be made to protect Harrogate’s high street offer.
The new president of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, Steve Scarre said real changes were needed in Harrogate town centre in challenging times for shops.
His views were reinforced by Richard Spencer, chief executive of Visit Harrogate, who said town centre shops and businesses were facing a shock to the system because of several factors such as the power of the internet, austerity, rates and the Brexit effect.
In a sign of the positive nature of Harrogate's fightback against shop closures, Andy said he preferred not to focus on the problems of business rates and high rents, but on emphasising how unique Harrogate's 'high street' is to the outside world.
The Harrogate Fine Wine Co owner said: "We do have great independent shops and we equally have great top end high street retail as well.
"Harrogate is unique in many ways while it is tough at the moment it just needs to get its message across better that Harrogate is a great place to shop and spend quality time for the benefit of all the businesses."