Hitchin’s Haberdashery market stall becomes standalone shop

Kim Keeping outside The Haberdashery in Hitchin's Bucklersbury. Picture: Andrew Keeping

Kim Keeping outside The Haberdashery in Hitchin's Bucklersbury. Picture: Andrew Keeping - Credit: Archant

The owner of a longstanding Hitchin crafts stall is delighted to be making a fresh mark on the town centre as her business becomes a standalone shop.

The Haberdashery, which had been in its old market position for 40 years, moved this month into Bucklersbury – and owner Kim Keeping told the Comet she has picked up new customers who never visited her wool and fabric business in the market.

“Over the past four years I have seen the market reduce considerably,” said Kim. “Traders would start but not stay.

“Last winter was tough. It was by far the coldest I had experienced. The majority of my stock was laid out on tables – so when it rained I had to clip up covers to the top of the stall and tie them to the table legs. I would then have to hang them up to dry.

“The future of the market is uncertain in its current location. There has been talk for years about moving it, and I am sure this will happen eventually.”

Kim took over The Haberdashery from Rose, Dave and Lisa Berwick in 2014, when Rose and Dave retired and Lisa moved to the south of France.

Kim said she since realised haberdasheries were in short supply amid a national surge in popularity.

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“The craft industry has grown massively over the last two years,” she said.

“I wanted to expand the range of products I sold, but realistically I couldn’t do this while still trading on the market.

“I also wanted to offer my customers a better shopping experience – plus, Hitchin was crying out for a haberdashery, wool and fabric shop.”

In April she found “this lovely quaint shop” in Bucklersbury, which she said had “proved perfect as a haberdashery and wool shop”.

“We plan on selling fabric eventually, and using the rooms upstairs for classes and crafters,” she said.

“We have already had a number of new customers come to see us that never visited us on the market. I am in no doubt the shop will be a huge success.”

One customer posting a review on Facebook wrote last week: “I was slightly panic-struck when Keim wasn’t in the market. Really pleased to find her in a shop at last so I can get my supplies all week.”

Another reviewer posted that it was her “favourite place to hang out on a rainy day in Hitchin”.

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