Build it and they will come...Well, what a summer..the wettest in 100 years not to mention the summer of our beloved Olympics. Here in sleepy West Wimbledon, we have been feeling the effects of a rather unusual season.
On either side of us us we have had builders; the first project being the development of a large soft play centre, the second a pilates and chiropractor's studio. It has reminded us of the summer we spent getting the shop ready and the weeks of dreaming, hoping, and waiting to open our doors to the public. We celebrated our second Birthday, two weeks ago and looking back, we have seen quite a few changes on our beloved Durham Road.
The most obvious has been the arrival of a brand new, shiny Waitrose right at the end of our street with its own parking, wide isles and glorious selection of food, drink and coffee shop. Sadly, in the year they have been here, our florist has closed, our local family run bakery which has been run by Angela for the last 38 years has been put on the market and a local mini mart changed hands because they were struggling. A brief search on the internet reveals several, small businesses in the near vicinity for sale. From our point of view, Durham Road has changed. The steady footfall we enjoyed has slowly ebbed and over the Summer, all but dried up. We hope that it will pick up again but more oftenthan not, we see our usual, loyal customers swishing by in their cars to park at Waitrose, grab their shopping in one go and speed off again to their next appointment. Maybe it's more about the way we live, than our shopping habits. More and more we are pressed for time and looking for ways to rescue our schedules. It seems ironic that the more we surround ourselves with sophisticated and labour saving devices the less time we have for actual living. As we conduct more and more of our social lives through the third party of the social media I fear the same is true for retail and suspect that the writing is on the wall for small independent shops.
Steve painted up several pretty bits of furniture;
A bedside cabinet lined with rose wallpaper
An oak, pie crust console table
An Art Deco chest of drawers lined with wallpaper.
A painted storage box
A large linen cupboard lined with vintage Sanderson paper
..and a pair of painted and reupholstered chairs.
I managed a piece too. This unloved vintage ottoman was rescued from a charity shop and given a much needed makeover.
The locals no longer blink an eye at Steve carrying oddities through the streets of West Wimbledon.
As the Olympics and then, annual mass exodus of our locals heading off for their Summer vacations ensued, I got my craft box out and crafted for Britain!
These panels had come to me in a lovely job lot of Edwardian and Victorian scraps. I had been meaning to do something with them but never had the time.
Using reclaimed vintage Sanderson fabrics I made some new cushions which ended up in our living room.
Wrapped hankie soaps
Wrapped Cupcake soaps and bath bombs
Vintage embroidered fabric lavender hearts
More charms for the build your own charm bracelet tray
Vintage teacup pin cushions
Tea towel tied rolls
Antique lace brooch corsages
As well as the crafting, we have run children's art sessions throughout the holidays.
....and continued sourcing interesting items for the shop.
We finally spruced up the shop loo.
And added a new addition to our family; Minnie the Cheeky Boston Terrier
They say that if you build it they will come, hopefully if you make it they will buy it! It has been a challenge this summer but we are believing that things will pick up again soon.
In the meantime, Well done team GB and long live Durham Road Independent shops.