Tuesday, 10 April 2018

ms-havachat discovers Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill, Windsor

I made a delightful discovery over the Easter Long Weekend.

A gorgeous, independently owned gift shop in Windsor called Vinegar Hill.

If you've been following ms-havachat on Facebook, you know I respect good customer service and great ideas and enjoy sharing them with you. Hopefully, those of you who are able, pop in and try them for yourselves.

To quote from Vinegar Hill website ABOUT US:

The name Vinegar Hill derives from a small town we stumbled upon whilst visiting the wonderful islands of New Zealand. As a business we really wanted a name that summed up what an independent store should be all about – unique, original and interesting. And so the name of our business was born!
Established in 1997, Vinegar Hill remains a close family run business. It is owned and managed by siblings Beth, Debbie and Richard Austin who have a passion for buying stylish and inspiring products from all over the World. Paired with a commitment to offering unmatched service, this has helped to develop a unique environment in our Lifestyle Stores.
The first store opened in Stratford upon Avon and with a lot of support from our customers and the great people who work for us, it became a success. As the business has grown it has never lost sight of its original values and identity – it still feels very much like an independent store and it is this philosophy that sees our customers return again and again.

The shop has a welcoming atmosphere; it's bright and busy, with stock displayed beautifully in showcases, nooks and display stands. It's hard to walk out without buying 'something'. The prices are reasonable too, which is always a plus. And they gift wrap!

Vinegar Hill, Windsor uses every nook and cranny, floor
and wall space to display their vast range of
quality products. 

Delightful range of cards and wrapping paper. 

Intimate toy section with unique items

Another lovely aspect of shopping at Vinegar Hill, is that when you buy a VINEGAR HILL or COCOA BEAN branded product, a percentage of the sale is donated to Love The One, based in India, which the owners have been supporting for a number of years.

Love the One, is a charity that strives to end poverty through sustainable steps. 

Vinegar Hills own label is available in candles, oils, jewellery, scarves and bags with more being added all the time, so there's many opportunities to buy a gift AND support a charity.

Beautifully presented, well priced pieces perfect for
birthday presents or a personal treat. 

With so many independent and franchise retailers leaving the 'High Street' in the UK, and all around the world, we really do need to focus on retail businesses to ensure there is a High Street to visit in the not-to-distant future.

It's the local independently owned shops we ask for raffle prizes or donations to help raise fund for local charities, schools etc and they do! Yet we shop online cos it's more convenient - except when 'we' need something. How is that fair? Asking a franchise operator for similar support can be done, and sometimes they can help, but sometimes it's a Head Office decision or edict on what they can or can't do. I know the philanthropy work I'm involved with in #berkshire #surrey is supported by small local businesses, despite the plethora of High Street franchises (if one more Starbucks or Costa coffee invades a 'village' I'll scream - why not a cafe/restaurant?)

Too many business owners blame online shopping, and while that's true to a point, maybe IF they provided quality customer service, through staff training and had enough staff on hand to help shoppers, it might be the difference between staying open or not.

I remember ALL THOSE YEARS AGO when the 'internet' launched, and online shopping was viewed with huge scepticism and questions, that businesses who launched websites were doing so to supplement and increase sales into areas (in Australia, it was the regional centres and country areas where retailers simply weren't setting up shops) NOT to replace the shopfront! It was supposed to be an adjunct to the bricks'n'mortar, not a replacement.

Before you ask, I do shop online occasionally but it's pretty limited to sending gifts to Australia is easier and less expensive that postage from overseas and you're guaranteed delivery on time), the occasional online supermarket shop if I'm unwell, and more recently clothes shopping for teen as time is limited and we have the same High Street shops in the malls around us, so it's repetitive.

I don't enjoy shopping, but I do shop in person as often as I can. I'm still surprised at the number of friends who say they 'only' shop online! If they need it now, they order it today and have it delivered tomorrow ...... not sure I've ever need anything that desperately heheheheheheh

Rant over :)

Back to Vinegar Hill.

There are 11stores plus online shopping so no excuse not to visit the shop. To find a store near you, click here to go straight to the website.

So, if you're looking for service, value and a selection of gifts, Vinegar Hill is the place for you (and me)

Vinegar Hill Windsor
20 Leonard Road, Windsor SL4 3BU

With friendship

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