Shop local this Christmas and support independent stores, urges Harrogate BID
Christmas is a vital time for local retail and with a wealth sya of independent outlets the message from Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID) is to shop local.
Longstanding family names are stitched into the fabric of Harrogate’s shopping scene. The old fashioned bricks-and-mortar service provided by independent family retailers have endured over the generations.
As more shoppers buy on the internet attracted by Black Friday-style deals, Harrogate BID says use local shops or lose them.
The organisation - like other BIDs in towns and cities around the country - aims to boost its local economy by increasing visits and spending.
Today's message follows the launch of its Harrogate Gift Card which can be pre-loaded with up to £500 to be spent at participating town centre shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, businesses and attractions.
GET THE HARROGATE GIFT CARD: A directory of participating businesses can be found online - where the card can also be purchased - at www.harrogategiftcard.co.uk.The high society of Victorian Britain from European princesses to acclaimed writers such as Oscar Wilde flocked to Harrogate thanks to its therapeutic waters.
John Fox, Chair of Harrogate BID, said: “There are a wealth of family retailers that give our town a unique character.
"We want shoppers to show they value the stalwarts of our spa town who are so vital to Harrogate’s charm and character.
"The message is simple - if you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.”
There are lots of family independents to find that extra special gift, not least the famed Bettys, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Below is a spotlight on retailing heroes that have withstood the test of time…
Woods of Harrogate
Stitched into the town’s fabric is Woods of Harrogate, boasting the finest linen in the world, this family enterprise dates back to 1733.
As well as surviving two World Wars (its strapline after World War Two: ‘Peace is not the end of striving: Times have changed but Woods quality and service has not.’) current owner, the renowned interior designer William Woods, has his own remarkable story, taking over the business aged just 17 after his parents’ tragic deaths.
There is heart and passion in a history that adds romance and storytelling; a name woven in tradition. His daughter, Sarah Woods, a talented interior designer is Creative Director, and his son Jonathan also works in the family business.
Farrah’s of Harrogate
Farrah's was established in 1840 by John Farrah. The Original Harrogate Toffee was designed to clear the palate of the putrid taste of Harrogate's Sulphur Water, famous in the 19th century for its healing properties.
Since the retirement of John Farrah in the early 1900's Farrah's was owned by the Armitage family and latterly the Waddington family before being brought back from the brink of closure in 1997 by father and son Gary and Peter Marston.
Over the generations, Farrah's has become famous for Original Harrogate Toffee, recognised the world over for its distinctive blue and silver embossed tins. Its customers include Selfridges and John Lewis, and Harrogate Toffee is sold in America, Australia and Europe.
Duttons for Buttons.
Duttons opened as a trimming merchants in Leeds in 1906 and 50 years later the button shop was established in Harrogate. Current owner Deborah Richardson is the fourth generation of her family – the great granddaughter of the founder – to run the family business.
It’s the perfect destination for those Christmas ribbons, craft kits, cards, fabrics for quilting and, of course, buttons.
Ogden of Harrogate
Ogden of Harrogate is an independent family-run jewellers since 1893, who see themselves as ‘stewards’ of their distinguished jewellery business.
Now in its fourth and fifth generations with brothers, Robert and Ben Ogden, its founder James Roberts Ogden was considered to be an ‘electric’ and ‘magnetic’ personality; the showroom still retains his original Edwardian fixtures and fittings. It offers a wide-range of jewellery and watches from many eras and brands, with a recently extended contemporary jewellery collection.
Jespers of Harrogate
Jespers of Harrogate is a fourth-generation retailer. Established in 1901; initially as a hand engraving business – it has evolved into a beautiful traditional stationery store that has served Yorkshire well since the 1950s.
It now boasts a stunning selection of stationery, greetings and gifts as well as home office supplies and an extensive art and crafts showroom too.
Jespers has been taken over by new owners, the Yorkshire-based Morris and Vickers families, who have secured the future of this 118-year old and much-loved store; its longstanding steward, Peter Jesper, continues in a consultancy role.
Ogden, Jespers and Woods, have all served the Royal Family, and HRH The Queen visited Farrah's Toffee factory in 1998, commenting how the family had enjoyed Harrogate Toffee for years.