5 Hampshire businesses on why they love being in Hartley Wintney
PUBLISHED: 10:46 15 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:46 15 June 2015
Historic Hartley Wintney has been bustling with traders for over 250 years and today boasts an array of established and new entrepreneurs. Some of the High Street's recent arrivals tell us why they love being in Hartley Wintney
“We like making our brides feel special and consider it a real honour to play such a big part in making their day happen,” says Anna Johnson. After taking-over a successful business in Odiham, the chance to display designer label gowns in bigger premises, close to some of Hampshire’s major wedding venues, was simply too good to miss. And during the past 10 months Anna, who works alongside alteration and bespoke dressmaking service Bahbua run by the equally enthusiastic Adrien Nortier and Ben Shallow, has been getting to know their neighbours. “We love the idea of using lots of local suppliers ourselves. There’s Moutan Flowers as well as our photographer and make-up artist, people who we can really trust and who have the same ethos as we do.” As for their brides, it’s little surprise many become firm friends. “It’s not nine to five but we have the best job in the world!”
Gallery Fifty Five
“All the shop owners here are very passionate about what they do, and that’s infectious,” says Freda James who opened for business three and half years ago. “Having lived in Fleet I was familiar with the area but, of course, we had to feel our way with the artwork to start with. Galleries can be intimidating, so we added a café to encourage people to relax a bit whilst looking at lovely things.” And these include ceramics, paintings, photography and jewellery from artists based throughout Hampshire which Freda sources through open studio events. With exhibits changing every four months, there’s plenty of reason to revisit. “We do have our regulars who come in and on a Saturday people travel to us from further afield, including London,” she says. “Seeing the space for the first time, I thought ‘I can see myself in there’ and now it’s the fulfilment of a dream.”
The Body Reset Clinic
“We treat plenty of youngsters and our oldest customer is 90,” says Vicki Styles who opened the doors to her clinic and treatment rooms in January 2014. With the aim to add something new to the village, she hasn’t looked back.Occupying the first floor above lifestyle boutique Cashmere Goose, Vicki and her team specialise in injury diagnosis and care, and there’s a trained nutritionist to provide advice on weight management and sports nutrition. “We’ve also linked-up with local organisations such as the Hartley Wintney cricket and football clubs,” she says. “And we’re the main provider of services to Sherfield Park Runners. With appointments available up until 9pm on selected weekdays, Vicki works hard to fit around people’s needs. “70 per cent of our work is by recommendation so we must be doing something right!”
“I won’t make it for you, but I’ll show you how,” that’s life-long sewer’s Clare Blackmore-Davies promise. And with TV hits like The Great British Sewing Bee and Kirstie’s Vintage Home to inspire us, mastering the perfect pair of curtains or an invisible zip is a stitch away. According to Clare, who’s run classes from the top floor of Hartley Antiques, coincidentally a one-time tailor’s home: “It’s all about giving people confidence in their projects. Hartley Wintney is perfect for whom I’m aiming for; I like to think of this as the ‘spa day’ of sewing.” With weekend, evening and one-to-one lessons catering for all abilities, her online shop sells easy to follow patterns to try-out new skills.
“For many, business rents are a big challenge. But because my main focus is teaching, renting a room works better, although I’d love to have a little shop of my own one day.” www.missmaker.co.uk
Lewis Alderson & Co
“We’d looked at over 20 sites before this one and knew that Hartley Wintney was a lovely place. Its destination appeal goes hand-in-hand with its location which is close to major transport links for our clients,” says Tom Edwards. Established with Neil Matthews, the business supplying and installing craftsman-made English cabinets for kitchens, pantries, boot rooms and bedrooms has grown significantly since 2009. But their first showroom in a Grade-2 listed building provides new opportunities. Having opened in April, Tom believes the country house styled rooms enable them to offer an even better level of service.
“It gives us the facility to showcase our products and to demonstrate some of the tailor-made options.” And when you might be spending £30,000 on your dream kitchen, off-street parking is an added bonus. “The passing trade provides a daily flag waving opportunity. That’s been really good so we usually leave the lights on at night.” www.lewisalderson.com
• Things to see and do in Hartley Wintney - This village in north Hampshire has a colourful past and offers a vibrant shopping hub, which is why it’s so popular with commuters and visitors