The owners of Natural Skin Care Deli - The Little Shop, Sales From The Crypt, Rainbows Sweet Shop, and Coastal Cocoa say they have suffered after recent news that two businesses in their arcade in Hastings town centre are to close, and have received “daily questions and comments” from customers about whether the whole arcade is going to close.
“We would really like the town to support the independent businesses that are staying, and for them to understand that the arcade will be staying open,” said Sue Mitchell, who owns Natural Skin Care Deli - The Little Shop.
“The arcade is an iconic building and has enormous history, considering as you enter Hastings it has the sign saying - The Birth Of TV - and yet it has been forgotten. We are extremely sad to see the long-standing businesses leave, the reason we wanted to come into the arcade was because of the friendly, relaxed atmosphere that you just don’t find on the high street. The traders remaining are a tight unit and are aiming to have the arcade looking at its best, and hopefully encourage more independents in - it would be wonderful to have more sustainable businesses to join us.”
Sue took over her shop in Queens Arcade in March 2020 - “only for the whole world to shut down,” as the Covid pandemic hit. She completely renovated the shop, and sells hand-made organic skincare products made to prescription, as well as refillable organic oils, essential oils, and butters. “My aim is to also offer workshops. I have been in the beauty and spa trade for 35 years and there is an enormous difference in using completely natural products without any mass-produced, off-the-shelf unnecessary ingredients used. Upstairs in the shop we also have the Face And Bow Clinic, offering aesthetic treatments by my daughter Kala Burton, and I perform hands on facial and massage using all products made in house.”
Rebecca Mann opened her shop Sales From The Crypt in 2018, and sells a range of goods including crystals, witchcraft items, music and LGBT merchandise. Like many businesses, she has faced challenges caused by recent Covid restrictions and lockdowns, but is confident about the future, and looks forward to serving her loyal customers “for many years to come”.
Rainbows Sweet Shop is a family-run business that has been providing “fun and nostalgic confectionery” to Hastings for 15 years. Co-owners Natalie Hayden and Thomas Woodley said: “Despite everything we are determined to keep trading in the arcade and are very hopeful for the future and new businesses joining our community.”
James Bridger opened his shop Coastal Cocoa in the arcade last October, and has already started running chocolate-making courses there. He said: “I’m very excited about the future, and am looking forward to the future as the arcade comes back to its former glory.”
Queens Arcade was built in 1882. In 1924, Scottish engineer John Logie Baird gave his first public demonstration of television at the site. Many of his early experiments were carried out at his workshop above No 8 in the arcade.