"Rushden High Street is not dead", campaigners pledge
Sisters who saved a shop in Rushden recently are launching a campaigning mission to save the High Street.
Crystal Hoyle and Chantelle Hewitt, who both live in Rushden, last month took over a High Street shop to 'put their money where their mouth is' and improve Rushden town centre.
The pair are also on the committee of retailers' group the Rushden Town Partnership and are now seeking people's views on what improvements they would like to see in the High Street.
Chantelle explained: "I often hear people complain about the state of the High Steet now that [out-of-town retail park] Rushden Lakes is here -- and it has definitely had an impact.
"But I want to highlight what we have got in the High Street, instead of focusing on what's gone.
"We are campaigning to improve the High Street for all, and make it a place that new start-up businesses want to come to. I believe by attracting a quirky assortment of shops and building owners' maintaining their buildings, people will return to the High Street and use the facilities there.
"I know that it's not that simple, but instead of complaining about it, we wanted to do something positive and save our High Street."
The sisters were recently given the opportunity to save 117 High Street, formerly known as the Helly Kooger. The former jewellery shop has now been diversified with a range of other services added. The new Crystelle Belle business now specialise in weddings, hair and makeup services, bridal jewellery, wedding rings, gifts and a range of other jewellery, as well as the retention of the jewellery repair service.
The sisters, who both have 20 years' experience in the hairdressing and makeup sectors, took over the shop in May, with the grand opening taking place on Saturday. It was attended by the mayor of Rushden, Councillor Cesare Marinaro, who cut a ribbon to officially declare the shop open.
Chantelle, 44, has been a self-employed makeup artist for two decades and worked for the previous jewellers Helly Kooger.
Crystal Hoyle, 39, has spent an equal number of years as a self-employed hairdresser.
Chantelle added: "So, in effect, we've put our money where our mouth is. And we really hope other community groups and business of Rushden will join us in our mission to save the High Street."
They are inviting shoppers to give their thoughts on what improvements they would like to see.
There is a membership fee of £30 per year to join the town centre partnership, which goes towards events, advertising and helping community groups. It also organises regular networking meetings.