Christmas shopping: Iconic 32-year-old Northampton designer sportswear store says Christmas period is vital
"Christmas is the big month. What we normally do in that one month is the equivalent to three month's takings."
An independent shop owner who has been in Northampton for more than three decades has spoken about the challenges of the last few years, giving young people a chance and how Christmas is a vital month for his business.
In the run up to Christmas, the Chronicle and Echo is celebrating and promoting the best of local businesses in a bid to get more people out shopping locally.
The third shop in our coverage is Styles of London in Abington Street, which is owned by Danny Parmar and has been in the town centre for 32 years now.
Asked how the shop is currently doing, Danny said it has been a 'challenging' few years.
He said: "It's been long and challenging the last two to three years, especially with Covid. Very challenging.
"It's been challenging in terms of Covid and lorry driver shortages. It's a combination of both. We're not getting deliveries because of lorry driver shortages.
"At the same time, we have been quite lucky, a lot of our customers are youngsters who live with their parents and haven't been impacted as much financially by the pandemic."
The store is iconic in the town and stood on the Drapery for 25 years before moving to Abington Street a few years ago.
Danny sells designer sportswear clothing and footwear, which historically only used to really be available by travelling to London.
He said: "We were on the Drapery for 25 years. We moved out because the bus stops used to cover the whole of the shopfront, people used to stand in the doorway - it was too crowded.
"We moved to Abington Street because it just made sense. It's been a good move, which would have been even better if not for Covid.
"I used to run market stalls in London all them years ago. Everyone in the old days used to go to London to purchase stocks, so that's where the idea came from, to bring that to Northampton.
"Certain people still like trying clothes on before they buy, and I think there's still a demand for that and face to face customer service."
The store has always given young people a chance for the years its been in business, which is heavily inspired by Danny's previous job as a youth worker.
He said: "The shop has given many young people a stepping stone into work by providing work experience.
"I've been a youth worker before and I know what it can be like - if I don't give them a chance then who will?
"I like to give youngsters an insight into working. Someone has to give them a chance or they sometimes get lost in the system. A lot of kids enjoy it and tend to get a job afterwards."
Danny went on to explain just how important this Christmas period is for his store and why independent shops are vital.
He said: "Christmas is the big month. What we normally do in that one month is the equivalent to three month's takings.
"We've got lots of loyal customers, so thanks to them who have supported us over the years, it always helps.
"If there are no independent stores here, it's going to be very generic. Everyone will be wearing the same clothing."