The future of Britain’s High Street is in our hands. It’s no good moaning if we lose our unique and distinctive independent shops, including those friendly book stores with heaving shelves.

imageLike me, you might have a favourite book shop you would hate to lose. An independent book shop has a totally different atmosphere to a chain. It is much cosier and staff are always well informed. When I visit my local bookshop, Topping, of Ely, time always flies by as I  become absorbed in scanning so many tempting titles.

All credit to ace author Richard Havers who has launched a stunning blog about great independent book shops – and wants to hear your personal recommendation.  He is keen to promote book shops which are “run by people who are passionate about books, not products”. Do visit his site and let him know.

*My sister is an increasingly rare breed. She is an independent retailer selling High Street ladies fashion. She has been doing it since leaving school at 18. She is keeping her head above water, but Wisbech 001 like other independent owners, faces stiff competition from supermarkets and websites. A couple of years ago she thought about selling up. When her loyalcustomers heard about this, they started a petition pleading with her to remain open. She was very touched and gave in to their requests. Going into Rosalind’s shop in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire is a unique experience, as any of her customers will tell you.

She is pictured here with my MEP Robert Sturdy. He visited her shop once when we highlighted imported goods.

*I found this article really interesting in The Times, where a retail research analyst predicted the future of Britain’s High Street. I quite like the idea of Japanese-style tea houses replacing some of our coffee shops with a new drinks emphasis on health and well being.

I can quite believe that future High Street pharmacies will offer health services such as dental and eye care. A pity something couldn’t have been done along the same lines to save our struggling post offices.

Do you have a favourite independent shop? How do you think the High Street will evolve over the next 10-20 years?