A popular art shop and studio in Ryde is closing after 5 years, with owners Izi and Mike Evans deciding not to renew the lease.
The People’s Gallery in the High Street, which has displayed and sold much homegrown artistic talent, is holding a closing down sale until the doors shut for the last time on Saturday 29th February.
However, despite loss of another high street shop, local business people are expecting further investment in the town.
Professional artist Izi said she and Mike have a new grandchild who takes up time but also they no longer want the commitment of a shop.
“I have to say that the High Street is not good these days. We’ve been happy but we’ve had to be quite inventive. We’ve provided a place for people who are looking for that special gift.
“But the cost of getting across the Solent by ferry or Hovercraft deters tourists. Plus, there are too many charity shops in the town. We won’t get more visitors until Ryde becomes a proper destination, with varied shops and facilities.”
But all is not doom and gloom according to Zoe Thompson, chairwoman of Ryde Business Association. She said:
“It is always sad when we see a business go from the town, but completely understandable that personal priorities change, making running your own business difficult.”
Zoe said that she believes the town – recently selected for the Heritage High Street Action Zone funding – has a bright future…
“This will result in a minimum of £900,000 being invested in the High Street. We hosted a visit last week from a variety of other investors, who are interested in the town, and looking at where funding opportunities can further enhance what Ryde has to offer.”
Zoe did offer this caution:
“As we know, throughout the UK retailers are facing very tough times. The way people shop has changed over the last 10 years and it is important for businesses to stay up to date, and do all they can to attract customers.”
Ryde Business Association can offer support and advice on the things that can be done to help shops stand out. For more information contact [email protected].