Leyton High street losing 'last proper community shop'

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Janet Ferguson says it's time to move on after 24 years. Janet Ferguson says it's time to move on after 24 years.

Knitting enthusiasts will lose east London’s last proper independent yarn shop when it closes in August, it is claimed.

Janet Ferguson, 66, is retiring after 24 years of running Teasels yarn crafts shop in High Road, Leyton.

Another important factor is that she was told she would have to sign a 12-year lease to keep going.

Ms Ferguson said similar shops nearby do not focus on the everyday customer, but focus on selling to the upper end of the market.

And Ms Ferguson is proud of her approach, but fears it could be a thing of the past.

“There are posh shops, cheap clearance shops and community shops," she said.

“We’re a community shop and there’s not many left in the whole country, let alone London.”

She defines a community shop as one which is prepared to sell less expensive items and listen to customers.

One supporter of the shop, Susan Henry, 27, of Farmer Road, Leyton, said she learned to knit from the ladies in the store.

“Stepping in to the shop a week before Christmas to buy wool to start knitting a jumper for a present, they made sure I had it finished on Christmas Eve, even though it was my first knitting project,” she said.

Ms ferguson is not going to attempt sell the business as she doesn't believe there would be any buyers in the current economic climate.

“It’s the common story for high street shops,” she said.

Another reason for selling up is that she did not wish to sign a required 12-year lease.

“I don’t feel sad but I expect I will,” she said.

“At the moment I’m too busy to know what I’ll feel.

“I will miss the customers and the work but it’s time to move on.”

The business started off as a machine knitting shop, only stocking a small amount of hand knitting materials.

In the 90’s the popularity of needlecrafts took off and led Ms Ferguson to tailor the shop towards knit and crochet supplies.

Teasels will close by the end of August, but possibly sooner if stock runs out quickly.

Comments (10)

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12:58pm Sun 21 Jul 13

Billy Yerache says...

The Government are pulling the wool over our eyes suggesting the economy is booming when in reality it is not.

I do hope this does not become another bookies or chicken licking shop.
The Government are pulling the wool over our eyes suggesting the economy is booming when in reality it is not. I do hope this does not become another bookies or chicken licking shop. Billy Yerache
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Sun 21 Jul 13

everoptimistic says...

So sad to see another of our local treasures shutting up shop. Teasels have all those little bits and pieces that you can't get anywhere else. Nothing is ever too much trouble for them. I still miss Ditchfields as well. Anyone taking bets on what will turn up instead? Oh yes, probably William Hill.
So sad to see another of our local treasures shutting up shop. Teasels have all those little bits and pieces that you can't get anywhere else. Nothing is ever too much trouble for them. I still miss Ditchfields as well. Anyone taking bets on what will turn up instead? Oh yes, probably William Hill. everoptimistic
  • Score: 0

4:15pm Sun 21 Jul 13

Thunderbird4 says...

Recently, I shopped locally. The simple box I needed cost 59p, rubber washers, 50p; total, £1.09. From Homebase, £2.59. Shame there are no free car parks.
Recently, I shopped locally. The simple box I needed cost 59p, rubber washers, 50p; total, £1.09. From Homebase, £2.59. Shame there are no free car parks. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Sun 21 Jul 13

inézc says...

You should see Epping High Street - small independent retailers being driven out by the chains as they are the only ones who can afford the ridiculous rent and rates being charged. Happy to say that we do still have a wool shop - Little Sew and Sews which is absolutely brilliant - if you want just one button you can get just one button.
You should see Epping High Street - small independent retailers being driven out by the chains as they are the only ones who can afford the ridiculous rent and rates being charged. Happy to say that we do still have a wool shop - Little Sew and Sews which is absolutely brilliant - if you want just one button you can get just one button. inézc
  • Score: 0

10:54pm Sun 21 Jul 13

mdj says...

The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all.

It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately.
The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all. It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately. mdj
  • Score: 0

8:52am Mon 22 Jul 13

Trevor 2 says...

mdj wrote:
The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all.

It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately.
With the 'local authority' giving exhorbitant sums to too many useless councillors they have to extract the money from some quarter! Piracy reigns in Waltham Forest!!
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all. It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately.[/p][/quote]With the 'local authority' giving exhorbitant sums to too many useless councillors they have to extract the money from some quarter! Piracy reigns in Waltham Forest!! Trevor 2
  • Score: 0

11:23am Mon 22 Jul 13

Walthamster says...

mdj wrote:
The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all.

It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately.
I've never seen Waltham Forest council do anything for local enterprises, whether shops or other amenities. The council's only interest is whether it can squeeze some money out of the organisers.

But as mdj says, there's a big revival in crafts. And it would be good to see this handy little shop keep going. Could someone else fend off the inevitable payday lenders or betting shops and keep this local treasure-chest going?

Best of luck to Ms Ferguson on her retirement.
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: The High St environment is brutally expensive, and a real uphill struggle when the local council regards a local business simply as a cash cow, rather than something that is entitled to service and support. Might an enterprise like this survive better in the Arcade in Wood st, next to other specialist shops? We're in the middle of an extraordinary revival of domestic handcrafts, after all. It was saddening that the council made no effort to keep the extraordinary Hand Weavers Studio in Haroldstone rd in the borough when the valiant owner finally retired (it survived, but moved to Seven Sisters). Perhaps they were unaware of its existence; perhaps that's the safest thing for a business to be, seeing how an amazing local enterprise such as the neon sign company was bullied and harassed by the local authority lately.[/p][/quote]I've never seen Waltham Forest council do anything for local enterprises, whether shops or other amenities. The council's only interest is whether it can squeeze some money out of the organisers. But as mdj says, there's a big revival in crafts. And it would be good to see this handy little shop keep going. Could someone else fend off the inevitable payday lenders or betting shops and keep this local treasure-chest going? Best of luck to Ms Ferguson on her retirement. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Mon 22 Jul 13

NDevoto says...

Why oh why is there also an excess also of "nail bars" and hairdresser/barbers along so many of our local streets when long established independents such as this go under.
something fishy going on......how do they survive with no customers?
Why oh why is there also an excess also of "nail bars" and hairdresser/barbers along so many of our local streets when long established independents such as this go under. something fishy going on......how do they survive with no customers? NDevoto
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Mon 22 Jul 13

mdj says...

One of the genuinely local traders nearby has ample time to observe the comings and goings of his neighbours - especially when the council is 'improving' the street works - and claimed vociferously that many of them were 'fronts', given how slack their opening hours were. I really couldn't say, but have heard similar versions of the same argument from people who claim to know how the game works.
I've heard various explanations of how you launder cash though a shop, but they seem to have the same flaw as the Ronnie Barker joke about how you hide the earth from the prisoners' escape tunnel...
One of the genuinely local traders nearby has ample time to observe the comings and goings of his neighbours - especially when the council is 'improving' the street works - and claimed vociferously that many of them were 'fronts', given how slack their opening hours were. I really couldn't say, but have heard similar versions of the same argument from people who claim to know how the game works. I've heard various explanations of how you launder cash though a shop, but they seem to have the same flaw as the Ronnie Barker joke about how you hide the earth from the prisoners' escape tunnel... mdj
  • Score: 0

4:40pm Mon 22 Jul 13

Cool snoopy says...

Shame to see this vintage shop go,
I loved walking in to this shop and have that old feel come back, the smell, layout, reminded me of good old days peaceful days.

I wish Janet all the best in her retirement.
Shame to see this vintage shop go, I loved walking in to this shop and have that old feel come back, the smell, layout, reminded me of good old days peaceful days. I wish Janet all the best in her retirement. Cool snoopy
  • Score: 0

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