The exterior of the Store Collective in Ealing Broadway shopping centre. There are dresses and cards in the window and a closure sign.

Independent Ealing gift shop saved at the last minute

An independent gift shop in Ealing Broadway shopping centre has been saved from closure after a last-minute deal was reached for a new site this week. 

The Store Collective, which sells handmade gifts and collaborates with local artists, was due to shut on September 27 after its rent was raised and the business was unable to put in a competitive offer.

However, a deal has been confirmed between the shop’s owner and DS Properties which is expected to allow the independent retailer to operate in the Dickens Yard complex in central Ealing from October.

Owner Kate McKenzie, 51, has said she is thrilled with DS Properties: “They have offered a lifeline to a much loved community-led store.”

McKenzie was renting the space on a pop-up tenancy from British Land who own the units in the shopping centre.

The lease ended in April and McKenzie was told in August that she would need to move out as a new tenant had been found.

British Land was approached and has declined to comment.

McKenzie said the outpouring from customers when their closure was announced was a motivating force in finding a new site for the store.

She said: “People have come to spend and support. I am almost in tears everyday.”

The shop owner also said the Store Collective had been targeted by shoplifters, including losing £200 worth of jewellery in an incident this week alone.

McKenzie said that while shoplifting comes as part of the territory as a retailer, the impunity that shoplifters face was frustrating.

She said: “If people get away with it, then they will come back and do it again.”

A report from the Association of Convenience Stores in June of this year said that there had been a 23% increase in shoplifting.

Last week, a group of retailers including John Lewis agreed to fund a police operation to crack down on shoplifting, called ‘Project Pegasus’.

Ten retailers will spend around £600,000 and work with police to use CCTV pictures and data to get a better understanding of shoplifters’ movements.

McKenzie started the shop with her sister and father mid-pandemic as an extension of the Christmas market stalls she had run since 2017.

FLOWERS: Bouquets of dried flowers in the Store collective

In December 2020, she set up a three-week market in an available shop front at the shopping centre in Ealing Broadway and in April the following year McKenzie was given pop-up tenancies there. 

Shalini Bharadwaj, 50, is the owner of Hutke Jewellery & Art which has partnered with the Store Collective.

She said: “The Store Collective is a community building tool connecting discerning customers with creative small businesses and unique products.”

Find the Store Collective online here

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