Northampton gift shop owners mark first birthday with new store opening announcement
A town centre gift shop in Northampton, which opened last May, will soon become one of the new faces of Bell in Kingsthorpe Road.
Bosses Rachel and Paul Roberts of Mooch, in St Giles Street, have spoken of their excitement ahead of opening their new shop in September, as part of Bell's Â£250k expansion.
Upon completion, the new 20,000sq ft project at Bell will play host to a deli, a 110-seat restaurant and will see the introduction of a large Christmas and gift department.
"We are so excited about it. It's an amazing opportunity to open another shop in Northampton, and also to introduce Mooch to a whole new audience. We think it's a perfect partnership," Rachel said.
The husband and wife team both used to work for retailers in London and gave up their demanding jobs before moving to Northampton 18 years ago.
Rachel said she used to struggle for choice in town when she had a present to buy for a friend: "We live on the Billing Road, we got in our car and drove to Market Harborough without even a thought of coming into Northampton.
"We had a bit of a laugh about it but thought, actually, this is a real thing. There isn’t somewhere to get a nice quality gift.”
In November 2016 - as part of their hobby - Mooch online was launched and, in a short amount of time, the pair were handed the keys to their 10-year-lease shop.
"Literally from day one, there are two things that we hear all day. 'This is really lovely, this is exactly what Northampton needs', and the second thing that we hear all day, which is less fun to listen to, is 'I never come into town anymore'.”
She believes the town needs more independent traders, like Mooch, to give shoppers the opportunity to go out for a few hours and spend time leisurely looking around different shops.
She added: "Our experience of trading in Northampton is really positive and we’d encourage anyone with a good idea to invest in the town.
"Feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive every day, and they tell us they’d love to see more good quality independent businesses."
Mooch, which will create two new jobs in Bell this September, opens seven days a week, including Bank Holidays, and offers customers a whole host of 'industrial' themed furniture, candles and gift cards - with some lines made in Northamptonshire.