The India Shop, one of the UK’s very first fair trade importers of goods and gifts from India, has opened its fourth shop in Newbury, Berkshire.
The shop, at 4 Bridge Street, opened just 24 hours after directors Anne and John Wyles collected the keys from the landlord.
Anne Wyles, director of the independent retailer, said: “We spotted the empty shop in the town centre and realised that it was too good an opportunity to miss. We’ve been looking to expand into Newbury for a while, it’s such a busy and thriving town centre, especially since a smart new shopping centre opened there a few months’ ago. We have taken a short lease on the property but if all goes well we hope to make it permanent.”
The India Shop team picked up the keys at around 2pm on Friday 4 November, and got to work on a 24-hour challenge to get the shop ready to trade.
Working through the night the team cleaned, repaired and repainting the entire shop interior, installing lighting and shelving and laid out stock. They opened triumphantly at 12.10pm on Saturday 5th November.
Their faith in the town appears to be paying off as Anne reports trade as brisk on Saturday and Monday. “Newbury is a Fair Trade town. The India Shop is one of the earliest advocates of fair trade, so it seems an ideal match,” she said.
The India Shop, which was established in 1987, imports and sells Fair Trade handicrafts, including gifts, furniture and home wears from India, to provide sustainable employment for disadvantaged producers and to keep the living legacy of Indian handicrafts alive. The idea for the business came after managing director Anne Wyles made a much-longed-for visit to India wither her husband. She saw the wonderful handicrafts from across India and she also saw the poverty. At that time there weren’t many Indian lifestyle products available in the UK market, only from Liberty’s at the high end and cheesecloth market traders at the low end. The India shop sells products with three qualities: Handmade, from India and Fair Trade, long before fair trade was the structured concept it is now.
The India Shop has four shops, in Marlborough, Salisbury, Wantage and now Newbury. Customers can also buy online at www.theindiashop.co.uk, keep up to date with the company on Facebook : The India Shop and on Twitter: @theindiashop.