Leyton High street losing 'last proper community shop' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton High street losing 'last proper community shop'
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.
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