Popular Ryde art shop and studio The People’s Gallery is closing after five years, with owners Izi and Mike Evans deciding not to renew the lease.
The shop in the High Street – which has displayed and sold much home-grown artistic talent – will be holding a sale until closing for the last time on Saturday 29th February.
However, despite loss of another high street shop, business people are expecting further investment in the town.
Izi: “We’ve had to be quite inventive”
Professional artist Izi said she and Mike have a new grandchild who takes up time, but also they no longer want the commitment of a shop. She said,
“I have to say that the High Street is not good these days.
“We’ve been happy, but we’ve had to be quite inventive. We’ve provided a place for people who are looking for that special gift.
“But the cost of getting across the Solent by ferry or Hovercraft deters tourists. Plus, there are too many charity shops in the town. We won’t get more visitors until Ryde becomes a proper destination, with varied shops and facilities.”
A bright future for Ryde
But all is not doom and gloom according to Zoe Thompson, chairwoman of Ryde Business Association.
“It is always sad when we see a business go from the town, but completely understandable that personal priorities change, making running your own business difficult.”
£900,000 High Street investment
Zoe said that she believes the town – recently selected for the Heritage High Street Action Zone funding – has a bright future.
“This will result in a minimum of £900,000 being invested in the High Street. We hosted a visit last week from a variety of other investors, who are interested in the town, and looking at where funding opportunities can further enhance what Ryde has to offer.”
Thompson: “Important for businesses to stay up-to-date”
Zoe did offer this caution,
“As we know, throughout the UK retailers are facing very tough times.
“The way people shop has changed over the last ten years and it is important for businesses to stay up-to-date, and do all they can to attract customers.”
Ryde Business Association can offer support and advice on the things that can be done to help shops stand out. If any business would like more information they can contact [email protected]
News shared by Peter Gruner. Ed