Indie retail experiment to hit Harrogate high street
Matthew Hopkins, founder of The Great British Exchange and The British Gift Co

Indie retail experiment to hit Harrogate high street

7 November 2018

A new independent store in Yorkshire is setting out to prove that the high street is not dead with a bold experiment.

The British Gift Co will open its doors in an empty retail unit on Harrogate’s Parliament Street over the next few days as a three-month pop up trial and will become a permanent feature if successful.

The concept has been developed by retail expert Matthew Hopkins, managing director of Harrogate-based company The Great British Exchange, which works with high street stores up and down the country on customer experience and product sourcing.

Matthew said:

It’s time to put our money where our mouth is and show people what we really mean when we tell retailers to do things differently.

People still love to shop but retail as we know it is changing and we want to prove that an  edgy store environment, knowledgeable and helpful staff and a strong mix of traditional and trend led products can tempt customers back to the high street.



In the run up to its opening, the windows of the shop will be completely blacked out except for a series of peepholes which give shoppers a sneak preview of what to expect.

Week by week passers-by will be able to view changing window displays and there will be regular competitions and in-store tastings.

The British Gift Co will showcase gifts from local, British and small batch producers and will operate a pick and mix hamper service including corporate gifts.

Matthew said:

Being a retailer in 2018 is scary but for the past three years The Great British Exchange has been researching survival strategies and helping our clients source newness and variety for their stores whilst providing a route to market for emerging British brands.

The intelligence we have built up over that time has delivered some powerful messages about how to do retail well and what the store of the not-too-distant future will look like, so we felt the time was right to demonstrate this in a physical shop rather than just talking about it.



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