Northamptonshire shoemakers open new store in Derngate

Pictured inside the new Derngate store, from left to right, Ashleigh Liversage (marketing manager), Leanne Rawlings (Derngate shop manager) and Christian Castle (managing director).
Pictured inside the new Derngate store, from left to right, Ashleigh Liversage (marketing manager), Leanne Rawlings (Derngate shop manager) and Christian Castle (managing director).

A new shoe shop, selling Northamptonshire-made footwear, has opened in Derngate amid a campaign to promote the town centre's cobblers heritage.

The Northamptonshire Productive Society (NPS) was founded in 1881 by five men in Wollaston who manufactured footwear for the British Army.

Between 40,000 and 50,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes - ranging between 150 - 225 are still made in Wollaston every year.

Between 40,000 and 50,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes - ranging between 150 - 225 are still made in Wollaston every year.

For over 30 years NPS produced Solovair (Sole-of-Air) boots and shoes under licence for AirWair under the name “Dr Martens made by Solovair”, and more recently the company has manufactured for brands including John Lewis, Kurt Geiger and Jack Wills.

Manager of the Northampton store Leanne Rawlings said: "Introducing NPS Shoes to the town is an exciting move for us, we are one of the smaller shoe manufacturers in the Northamptonshire area but with 100 per cent of our manufacturing still taking place at our Wollaston factory.

"We want to spread the word locally about our brands as well as bringing something different to the town centre.

"Retail is extremely important to our business as our customers do not just buy a pair of our shoes, many look at it as an investment and we want to be able to offer them the support and advice they require in making their decision. We want our customers to leave us with a pair of shoes they can be proud of wearing and feeling as though they are part of the NPS family."

The new store in Derngate has opened in time for Christmas.

The new store in Derngate has opened in time for Christmas.

All of the firm's shoemaking is made in Wollaston and after 137 years in trade the business has opened its second, and newest, shop at 11 Derngate to sell Solovair and NPS footwear ranges, as well as some high-street shoes too.

The shop, which is in the basement of The Wine Collection, opened last Tuesday in a two-week renovation effort.

As part of a scheme to improve footfall in the town, managers at NPS have reduced all footwear prices at the new Northampton shop by 20 per cent off the recommended retail price.

Between December 5 and December 31 every customer who buys a pair of full price shoes from the shop will receive a £15 voucher to spend in The Wine Collection, upstairs.

This comes months after the Chronicle & Echo launched its Save Our Sole campaign, in July, to improve the Boot & Shoe Quarter and attract the factory tourism into the town centre.

The store is open Tuesday to Thursday: 11am – 6pm, Friday to Saturday: 10am – 7pm and it's closed on both Sunday and Monday.

Back in September Rob Purdie, executive director of Northampton town centre BID, said empty units in the town centre could be revamped to promote our shoe heritage.

He outlined a proposal to use vacant space, good quality factory shop stock and a flexible staffing resource to deliver a series of pop-ups that promote the many great brands based in the town and county on a regular basis.