Monday, May 20, 2024

New shop Knit One Purl One opens and owner is positive about town high street

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If anyone has lived and breathed the changing face of Penarth’s high street it’s Cathy Evans who has owned shops in the town since 1998.

We met Ms Evans, 73, just as she opened her latest venture Knit One Purl One on Glebe Street.

Born in England, raised in Glasgow, working in Penarth, Ms Evans has had a presence on the town’s high street in a number of different guises.

She ran street sandwich shop Upper Crust between 1998 and 2018. She also ran Gingers ladies clothing until 2002 and she had popular gift store Bo Jangles until 2004.

Now, Ms Evans is in the knitting business, with her new store supplying anything and everything keen knitters could dream of.

Ms Evans has been in Penarth since 1993 and when we asked her about her perception of the high street right now, baring in mind a lot of outlets have left such as Shaws, M&Co and of course the Bears Head is set to pack up – in fact Knit One Purl One is in the unit Gwil’s Emporium was in, with owner Mr Gwilym Wyn Roberts calling a day to his trading – she said shoppers have to understand Penarth is in a “transitional phase”.

“The high street is in a transitional place,” explained Ms Evans in her thick Glaswegian accent. “A lot are now retiring, but the town is on the up with several new shops opening.”

Penarth Times: Cathy Evans at her latest venture Knit One Purl OneCathy Evans at her latest venture Knit One Purl One (Image: Newsquest)

This forecast is true, with at least three units in the process of refurbishment including Kitchener Thomas store next to Bears Head and the extraordinary development at the old Blockbuster on the corner of Hickman Road.

Ms Evans says you have to be resilient if you want to trade on any high street – she described how she started in a recession and she’s just kept going.

“I just get an idea,” said Ms Evans. “I had lots of wool at Gifts@ Number 9 (another of her shops) but I could not integrate it properly and I thought it would be better sold in its own shop.”

Penarth Times: Knit One Purl One will meet all your knitting needsKnit One Purl One will meet all your knitting needs (Image: Newsquest)

What else helps with high street success? Ms Evans points at positivity and support, something highlighted by Apothecary 64 owner Craig Parker-Trott when he made the shock announcement he was considering closing his business before making a sudden U-turn.

Mr Parker-Trott was inundated with messages when he revealed his concerns and highlighted people can support shops in a number of ways other than just parting with their hard earned cash – such as following independent shops social channels, giving them a positive online review, or just spreading the word.

“My belief is we need shops for people to shop in, but people have to shop as well,” said Ms Evans. “I do not want to see people sitting on sofas ordering online, I want to see them come out.”

Penarth Times: Craig Parker-Trott of Apothecary 64 on Cornerswell Road - hanging in there!Craig Parker-Trott of Apothecary 64 on Cornerswell Road – hanging in there! (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: Changing high street: Gwil's Emporium gone, replaced by Knit One Purl OneChanging high street: Gwil’s Emporium gone, replaced by Knit One Purl One (Image: Newsquest)

Hold the presses: this isn’t turning into a positive story about Penarth’s high street run in Penarth Times, is it!?

Ms Evans looked at me with unflinching eyes when we met and finished by saying: “I love Penarth and the town WILL get more vibrant again, trust me.”

Knit One Purl One will be open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Go there for all your knitwear and haberdashery goods and if you’re struggling to find a wool or a knitting tool, Ms Evans says she’s happy to help with the search.

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