I’ve never accepted that, if you live outside a major city the local M&S should be the apex of your clothing options – so it was a great pleasure to discover, a few weeks ago a shop that is confirming the view that regional-town Britain can and should support great independent traders.
Ian Johnstone has established The Shopkeeper Store in the small Essex town of Great Dunmow. Ian has done an excellent job of creating an interior very redolent of traditional shops with wooden floors and a long serving counter.
The selection of goods on offer is what I suppose one would call Gentleman’s wares, ranging from clothing and shoes, through grooming accessories to a small selection of home wares, stationery and books. It is curated (which seems like the right word) with a mind to quality, craftsmanship and sustainability. Most pleasingly of all, the defining criterion for the stock is simply Ian’s own (very good) taste, and as a result he has achieved both a consistent ‘look’ and an extensive knowledge of his goods. It would be nice to see a growth in the more formal though still creative end of his clothing range as his enterprise grows.
The very courteous personal service and genuine enthusiasm for what he is doing is the icing on the cake, and I sincerely hope that Ian makes a success of this relatively young venture.
It is possible to buy from The Shopkeeper Store online, though if you are close enough, I would recommend a visit just to experience the lovely ambience. Oh, and there is an excellent independent wine merchant next door…
The Shopkeeper Store,
9 Market Place, Great Dunmow, Essex CM6 1AX