A COMMUNITY has rallied around a plastic-free store to raise thousands of pounds for its ‘glow-up’.
Harriet Dean-Orange, head of Harriet’s of Hove, launched a crowdfunder to revamp the store and introduce some “exciting” new product lines.
And her “extremely loyal” customers responded in droves, managing to raise a whopping £10,000.
The former nurse set up the company on Blatchington Road four years ago after frustration at the lack of provisions for a plastic-free lifestyle.
She spotted a niche in the market in Hove and within 12 weeks opened the shop, which offers vegan groceries, refill packs, eco-friendly household products and much more.
“We made it from idea to opening in 12 weeks,” said Ms. Dean-Orange.
“It’s something we knew time was of the essence. We knew that if we thought about it too much, we might not do it at all.”
After a little over a year in business, the pandemic broke out and the businesswoman’s plans to further develop the store were put on hold.
Her attention quickly shifted to looking after her employees and making sure the store stayed open to the community.
“Being in the new stages of a pretty innovative business and then shaming a pandemic, we were on a really good path,” she said.
“My line of care came into play and I realized we had to change the way we worked and we ended up having double staff so we could serve customers instead of them serving themselves.
“We have not closed a day during the pandemic.
“For us, it was less about the original message of plastic and more about staying open to the community, especially those who were struggling to get groceries.
“In our community, people have remained very loyal to us, and we are really grateful for that.”
The money raised by the crowdfunder will be used to give the store a makeover, expand its product lines, purchase new display units, and create a thank-you mural to all donors.
“During the pandemic, we’ve been really empty to stay open and allow people to shop plastic-free,” Ms Dean-Orange said.
“And for all those extras, the maintenance, the new products, all the really fun stuff that brings a lot of excitement to a small business, we just didn’t have the resources to do it.
“We would love to create a mural for everyone who supported the crowdfunder because I think it’s important that we recognize that we couldn’t have done this without the community.
“I think the crowdfunder showed that people want us here and want us to stay, they want us to evolve, so let’s say thank you to them.”
Ms. Dean-Orange’s team of five will begin work in time for the fourth anniversary of the deal in November.
By employing locals to carry out the work, hopefully everything will be completed in three days to limit shop closing time.
Ms Dean-Orange has reminded customers that they do not have to enter the store to access the goods.
“We deliver all over Brighton and Hove, we even drive to Shoreham and Rottingdean,” she said.
“We offset our deliveries so we know we’re doing our best there.
“You don’t have to be in Hove to shop at Harriet’s of Hove.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20674650.customers-harriets-hove-back-crowdfunder-revamp/?ref=rss Harriet’s of Hove customers support crowdfunder for revision