Three new shops have opened in Letchworth's Garden Square Shopping Centre today (Friday, December 1).

Wool and All, Harley's Jewellery and Treasure Cube all welcomed their first customers after Stepping Stones, a new initiative, opened its doors.

Run by Cllr David Levett, Stepping Stones aims to give people a helping hand towards setting up their own business without needing to find an entire shop unit to operate from.

Among the first businesses opening in the unit is Wool and All, which was previously known as The Wool Stall in Stevenage's indoor market. It is owned by Naomi, who will be running a series of craft workshops alongside selling wool and similar products.

She will be joined in the unit by Mark, who runs Harley's Jewellery. He's keen to test out the feasibility of his business without being forced to make a long-term commitment to leasing his own premises.

And last but not least is the Treasure Cube, which will be run by Charles and will sell traditional products from Hong Kong as well as showcase creative products by young people.


In addition to the shops, Stepping Stones will host other temporary attractions - at the moment, there is a 'Made in Letchworth' display featuring articles on the history of lesser-known products that were made in the town.

While the shops opened at 10am today, their formal opening ceremony will be conducted by Cllr Daniel Allen, chair of North Herts Council, at midday on Saturday, December 2 - and there will even be a performance the 'Magic Piano'! The shops will be open from 10am until 5pm on the day.

Stepping Stones is also home to a small multi-function room that can be rented for conferences, training sessions and meetings, with special rates available for community groups.

Jack Philbin, centre manager at Garden Square Shopping Centre, said: “David had been discussing the idea of Stepping Stones with us for a while so when the unit became available, we jumped at the opportunity to bring his concept to life.

"We have had great success with pop up shops in the past. Ali at Tutti Frutti Clothing started as a pop up & now has her own unit in the shopping centre selling her lovely handmade children’s clothing.

"David himself also started with a pop up & now has his other business Creations Conservations & Curiosities, Letchworth Garden City’s answer to TV's ‘The Repair Shop’.

"We wish Stepping Stones the best of luck and look forward to seeing the first set of businesses open their doors to the public”.