Amy-Leigh Brennan-Rogers, the owner of The Banbury Sewing in the town centre, has expanded her business with the purchase of the Witney Sewing and Knitting Centre.
The Banbury Sewing Centre and the Witney Sewing and Knitting Centre have been a fixture of their town's commercial hearts, and over the last year provided a source of comfort to anyone, experienced or amateur, who wanted to use arts and crafts to help them overcome the impact of the Covid-19 virus.
The sale of the Witney business to it's 28-year-old new owner reverses a trend which began 19 years ago when a group of 4 shops in the area were sold off individually.
It was back then that Amy-Leigh Brennan-Rogers mother purchased one of these shops in Banbury, around the same time the Witney shop was purchased and run successfully by Julie and John who are well known in Witney town.
Following the death of Amy’s mum in January 2020, she decided to keep the Banbury shop going, and despite these difficult times she has weathered the storm.
When the Witney store was put up for sale this year, she saw the opportunity to prove her belief that the British High Street is not dead, and that crafting would continue to grow in popularity. She's combining the expertise and range of the two shops to give the people of Banbury and Witney the best experience possible.
Amy said: “Sewing has been reborn with shows like the Great British Sewing Bee, people of all ages are being inspired to make their own, unique clothing."
If taking on her mothers’ shop was daunting, committing to a second store in a different town has been the scariest thing she has ever done in her young life. Amy believes it was the right decision for her, for the people who work in the shops, for the loyal customers, and for the town centre economies.
She added: “We supply products and colours that are current and in great demand with our customers. It is important to many of them that they have the chance to feel the quality of the fabric, yarn, and products they are purchasing. Our staff have shared the same journeys as our customers, with experience, help and advice that cannot be matched on-line”
Amy also acknowledges that times have moved on and for that reason the Witney shop, together with the Banbury store will also offer an extensive internet service for those who prefer it.
She said: “It will complement our bricks and mortar offering not replace it. There will also be a re-branding of the shops to reflect a group name of the “Cotswold Sewing Centres”
Her focus is on providing the same quality and range customers have become used to along with new and exciting products. Most of all it is to ensure the physical presence of sewing and crafts on the High Street.
She added: “Caring, repairing, making and creating are environmentally sustainable practices, for people my age these are vitally important, I am proud that we can bring these opportunities into the heart of our towns”