Harborough independent stores go in high street shake-up

Frutas shop manager Kelly Odom with a former staff member Travis Powell outside the shop, which will close on Saturday.
Frutas shop manager Kelly Odom with a former staff member Travis Powell outside the shop, which will close on Saturday.

A landmark independent shop on Market Harborough’s High Street is closing down this Saturday, after more than 30 years in the town.

Traditional greengrocer Frutas says its customer numbers have been falling in recent years, especially in the last seven months.

The shop has seen a particular decline since Harborough Market became a six-day-a-week operation, said shop manager Kelly Odom.

Harborough Market won an award as Britain’s Best Small Indoor Market last week.

“Christmas just wasn’t the same for us this year,” said Kelly at Frutas. “There’s just not the passing trade at this side of town.”

And she warned: “It’s shops like this - small independent shops - that make a town like Market Harborough different. That’s something that needs to be looked at if people want the town to stay special.”

Frutas will continue as a business, because it has a large delivery side, supplying 70 schools, as well as restaurants and other businesses.

As reported previously in the Harborough Mail, locally-based The Furniture Barn has shut its accessories branch in Rockingham Road, as part of a scaling-down of its operations.

There’s now no sign of East Midlands camping and outdoor gear shop George Allen, in Church Street, except a note thanking customers.

The chain furniture shop Cargo, on the High Street, closed on Wednesday, although it will be replaced by the Bensons for Beds chain.

Independent kids clothes and games store Cots ‘N’ Togs in Church Street will cease trading at the end of February, due to the retirement of co-owners, Sue Needham and Gail Clive-Hollis.

Gail said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who’ve come in and said ‘we’re sad you’re going’.

“Thank you Market Harborough for your support. We hope the council remembers it’s independents like us that make the town so unique.”