Friday, 3 January 2014

End of an Era

End of an era...
When I opened Reba way way back in 1994 As a young 24 year old I wanted to bring something different to the city. I fell in love with the building, its vaulted ceilings, stone walls and air of timelessness. My logic was, if you're going to spend all day somewhere it should be somewhere beautiful. I've never regretted my choice.

Fast forward 19 years. While Reba has had many incarnations it has always offered something a bit different from the norm, either handmade, beautiful, quirky, or from a small label or company. I'm a firm believer in the "have nothing that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful" adage.

Sadly, it's the end of our time here in Peterborough, a city that has for the most part been kind to us and supported us with enthusiasm. For many people reading this, this really won't register as important in the grand scheme of life and of course it's not really up there with finding a cure for incurable diseases or anything so noble, but it is, in my estimation at least, the end of an era, and not just for my little shop.

It's an embittered and embattled time for small independent retailers, rents are way out of line with the footfall that's a daily reality on our high street, business rates are unbelievably high and all this against the backdrop of the highest internet usage in Europe means that it's no longer reasonable for us to continue in Peterborough.

On a personal note, this saddens me, not only for the good people who've lost jobs at Reba through no fault of their own, many of whom have worked for me and together for years, building great relationships with each other and our customers. But also for the city. Not because I think we are irreplaceable, but because what we need more of on our high streets are independent shops and businesses that bring character to an area. The thought of a city filled with clone stores interchangeable with any high street in the country is to me, simply not appealing but it is the future we are looking into.

I've always believed that a great business comes from the heart. Sure money in the till is the final demarcation of success, but doing something well and with passion, professionalism and enthusiasm should be applauded - I worry for fledgling businesses trying to start in the city.... Where would you open to try out your business idea? If we don't have spaces for these new businesses where will our young entrepreneurs go? Without that entrepreneurial spirit what will be the cost to the city in lost ideas, talent & youth?

So what has happened for us to finally call it a day after 19 years....? Well, the change in demographic of the city has had a huge impact. The work on Cathedral Square, while necessary to upgrade the city, took a massive toll on shoppers habits and then the never ending increase in parking charges... But the final nail in the coffin was the opening of the Peter Brotherhood retail park. Why would a customer pay to come into town to shop when they can pretty much get what they need out of town with free parking to boot?!

We've long been told that we can have it all. We're the internet age, we can shop online and then visit an indie store, Garden Park, farmers market or thriving market town. Except of course we can't! Or at least if these other sales avenues are going to exist outside of the traditional high street then rents and rates have to change and fast! Today, not tomorrow, that kind of fast.

Many of you reading this will have seen our campaign to promote independent retail in Peterborough through the launch of the indie retail map and local indie retailers. When I started this campaign early in 2013, I already knew that we would have to close, but I promised myself that if I was going to leave then I would leave with my head held high knowing that I had done everything in my power to challenge attitudes both in consumer's minds and within the ranks of the authorities responsible for making many of the decisions detailed above.

So how do I feel about the closure of Reba today? If I'm truly honest, I feel as if I've failed. Logically I understand that 19 years can't really be construed as a failure, but that is most certainly what it feels like. I understand that the odds were against us from the start.... But it still hurts.

As a wholesaler too, this story of mine isn't just "my story" it's being played out on High Streets up and down the country - We are in a time of change and it's my belief that when the dust settles we'll end up with a deeply divided system. Indie shops will, for the most part migrate to affluent pockets, market towns, community driven areas and out of the way places that can support them without crazy rent demands. Whilst our cities will become soulless clone towns that are interchangeable with every other high street in the UK.

While I might sound like a embittered doom merchant, that's really not my intention. I'd merely like to point out that this is happening in front of our eyes. The opening of yet another betting shop in Bridge Street must surely be a wakeup call?
My vision for the city is for an aspirational centre, not because I'm a galloping snob, but because apart from it being pleasanter socially for each of us to live in a city like that, it also makes sound economic sense. Companies looking to relocate and bring their workforce with them will be looking at the amenities on offer... A vibrant city centre is high on their agenda. This is and always has been about so much more than simply "shopping"

I'd like to make it clear that I'm not "Peterborough bashing" I'm just reporting on things from my own little corner of the world. Peterborough has been good to us and in return we've tried to give something back. My vision was and remains to something different, to celebrate individualism, to offer choice and variety and fun.... It was not about purely making money, lest anyone confuse the two.
Facing our 20th year of trading, taking the decision to exit our lease has been a difficult and emotional one for all of us concerned. We would like to thank our staff, our suppliers and of course we'd like to thank the people of Peterborough and the surrounding areas, who have supported us for the past 19 years. We've had a blast and we're so grateful to have been part of your lives. We wish you the very best.

Finally, I'd like to thank the local media who have always been very supportive of us and the council. If you're out and about shopping, please support the other indie retailers in the city.

We would like the farewell for Reba to be a celebration of our 19 year history, so if you are in the city centre before the 11th January please stop by to check out the sale and say goodbye!

Goodbye from Rachel & the Reba girls

Friday, 6 July 2012

Reba launches Independent's Month

On Wednesday Reba baked cupcakes, held a promotional sale and ran a "chocolate ball prize draw"  to win vouchers for the store - A £10 voucher was won by Chelsea and a £20 prize draw was won by Claire,

Rachel Parkin, owner of Reba said "there's no doubt about it, life is tough on the high street and obviously the recent poor weather hasn't helped, but we had a fabulous day and we were thrilled with the support we received from the local community.  We've been here for 17 years now, and we offer a unique shopping environment and experience to our customers who appreciate the mix of products and great service"

Independent's Day on the 4th July was the launch date for the month long campaign to support your independent stores.  The mix of stores on our high streets has been in the news recently following the Mary Portas review commissioned by David Cameron last year.
In the Review Portas highlights the main reasons as to why there is a trend of decline in high street shopping; this is due to the rise in out of town (free parking -major pull factor) and internet shopping coupled with the increasing range of products/services offered by supermarkets and shopping malls, also not forgetting that falling consumer spending has played a major part too.
She adds that the need to renew the high street and the town centre’s social aspect as well as economic spaces is paramount to her vision. So Review is important not only in its emphasis on the critical role of the high street as provider of retail and services outlets but also the ‘social cohesion’ that it brings to town centres as a central point where people can meet and local groups can communicate and engage with shoppers – encouraging community involvement and interaction.

Independent businesses are vital to our local economies. They ensure the unique character of an area, are more accountable to customers and the local community, more likely to support local charities and have greater direct control over the environmental impact of their businesses.

Money spent at locally owned independent businesses goes around longer in the local economy. It yields two to four times the economic benefit to the local residents compared with non-local businesses. This means more local income, wealth, and jobs.

Supporting independent businesses creates local jobs, preserves economic diversity and safeguards the environment and we at Reba believe that that's a good thing, so please join us, and show your support for independent businesses like ours across the city and surrounding areas.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lovelinks June promotion

Why not show off your personal style with lovelinks, Create your own combination with a wide choice of charms to complement your outfit or as a reminder of that special memory. We have 25% Off all lovelinks online and in store.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

New jewellery from Twinks Crafts is here!

Reba is combining our fascination with all things vintage with some eco principles. So we would like to introduce to you a new jewellery range that combines vintage and recycling. At such a great price we know you'll love it !!
Emma Turner created Twink Crafts, with a passion to create funky and quirky jewellery by using a mixture of homemade pieces such as buttons, video cases, mosaic tiles and vintage delights.
This fun and fabulous range is tres kitsch and shows you can create just about anything out of nothing. The gorgeous vintage pinup pendants are a real must have, add a splash of sparkle with these great pieces which are lovingly set in Perspex.
All of Emma's pieces are one offs, so when we say the jewellery is unique, it really is !! So don't linger, decide which one you need !!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

New Clothing in store

The weather may be letting us down but our new clothing collection from Glamorous will be sure to brighten up your day.

We just love these new summer pattered kaftans. Whether your thinking of slipping one over your favourite bikini on that ‘must have’ break or teaming up with skinny jeans and vest top, it’s a purchase you won’t regret.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

New jewellery range coming soon...

Coming soon to Reba…

Its Alchemy Jewellery

Reba would like to get you all excited about a new unique collection of jewellery that will be coming to our treasure trove boutique very soon. A fabulous jewellery range made from reclaimed vintage ceramics.
Broken, mismatched ceramics inspired this collection, in which they preserve old, precious, pretty patterns with contemporary jewellery pieces. Using sterling silver links, fastenings and chains, selected fragments are transformed into unique and distinctive items of jewellery, ready to be loved once more.

Monday, 26 March 2012


An array of beautiful scarves have hit our shelves and they are at the bargain price of £8.99. The bird and butterfly print is an absolute must have for these gorgeous sunny days, it comes in 6 colour choices and makes any outfit look fabulous and summery. Or if you want to feel all fairytale why not buy our wonderful horse and carriage print.
Also we have an amazing Marilyn Monroe design for all you 50s icon fans. This is sure to add a touch of refined elegance and tasteful appearance to your style.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Handbag organisation - the magic solution

For all those unorganised women out there, we have the solution to keeping your handbags in order! We all know that a girl’s handbag is her best friend, the secret keepers of absolutely everything that will fit inside it, and if your anything like us, it’s the carrier of chaos? Well never fear, for we at Reba strive to make your lives easier, and present to you our gorgeous new collection of BagPods from RedDog.

What’s a BagPod you ask? Its something we think every girl needs, in short, a bag organiser! No more rummaging around for your keys, purse or lipstick, each of these little gems comes with a collection of compartments and separators so you will never have to rummage again!

And the best bit is, they are easily transferable from bag to bag, so no more tedious bag clearing! In an array of colours/fabrics, from stunning apricot, royal blue to luscious pink and many more, you’ll truly be spoilt for choice!
So come to Reba and get yours and start enjoying the easy life!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Spring/Summer Nica collection is here!

Get carried away with this beautiful collection…

This season Nica have merged classic 70’s elegance with an ample dose of their signature Nica flair. Bold, vibrant colours meet must-have vintage shapes. Textures, prints and gorgeous detailing engages a laid back style with a quirky edge.

One of our favourite lines from this collection is…

Vanino: Gorgeous intricate laser cut out detail adds a chic touch of class to these key structured shapes. Vanino comes in an array of rich attractive colours with a delightful hanging charm.
We only have limited stock of this wonderful range so I’m afraid once it’s gone it’s gone! Get in quick to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Kutuu Jewellery

A wonderful new jewellery collection from Kutuu is here.....

We believe that jewellery is treasure – collected as a reminder of your journey and a way of capturing your precious memories. It tells a story.

Kutuu design and create jewellery for adventures, for saying “thank you” or “I love you”, to mark a new beginning or to celebrate a milestone. They are passionate about sweet and sentimental messages as well as symbols used throughout history.
The symbolism we love so much begins with their name as “Kutuu” translates from a West African language into “butterfly” – a creature associated with freedom, happiness and beauty. All their jewellery and packaging is made here in the UK.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

NEW Ashleigh and Burwood Fragrances have arrived in store!

We have a fabulous new range of fragrance oils for your much-loved Ashleigh and Burwood lamps and we a certain you are going to love them.

The Perfume collection is a fantastic new range that will fill your rooms with a glorious scent.

Florence: A beautiful and feminine blend of rose, mandarin and jasmine, warmed with sensual notes of frankincense, cedar and a delightful hint on vanilla.

The rich and heady aromas of patchouli, oakwood and vanilla are softened with accents of apple and the gentle spice of anise to create this delicate fragrance.

Isabella: The ethereal quality of this aroma comes from airy notes of bergamot, rose and jasmine-complemented with gentle scents of soft musk, sandalwood and sweet amber.

Lily: The romantic scents of strawberry and violet create this sweet and wistful aroma-with charming underlying notes of iris, tonka bean and raspberry.

Evangeline: Fresh, soapy notes of ylang, jasmine and orange flower are enhanced by subtle aromas of coriander and citrus to create an elegantly cleansing perfume.

Don’t worry the classics fragrances such as Perfect Vanilla, Parma Violets, Exotic Fruits and many more are also back on a shelves and ready to be snatched up.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Not long till Mother's day

With Mother's Day creeping round the corner, we suggest you get your thinking caps on to find the perfect present for your yummy mummy. We at Reba have a fabulous collection of scarves, candles, jewellery and much much more that will be right up any mums street. So pop in store or online today to check them out.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ready for Spring?

Are you ready for Spring?
We sure are and can't wait for the sunshine and daffodils! We have our lovely new range of Kate Hamilton-Hunter jewellery in store so be sure not to miss out on that as each item is individual so once it's gone it's gone! Also keep your eyes peeled for our new range of candles hitting our boutique very soon.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Don't be a stupid cupid...!

The big day is almost here, yes folks Valentine's day is tomorrow !

Whether you're a grand gesture kinda person, or you like things a little more low key, we have the perfect gift for you to tell your valentine how you feel about them....

So lets recap, there's jewellery (always a winner) cards, gifts, books, clothing and pictures too, yes, we think we've got it covered - Bring on the love !

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Free £5 gift voucher

How do you fancy a free £5 gift voucher? Join our Birthday club today to receive updates on promotions, new stock and great gift ideas for those special occasions. You will also be sent a birthday email to claim your £5 gift voucher! It's quick and simple just send over your email address and date of birth to

Monday, 23 January 2012

Some People Want It To Happen Sign

This large wall sign is a great statement and makes a real feature. Inscribed with a motto we should all try to live by, this wonderfully unique and inspiring sign has a distressed and antique vintage look. In a framed white wooden finish with large black text, this sign will look gorgeous on your wall, whilst the words "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen" will give you courage and the push you need to achieve all your dreams (so place it somewhere prominently)! A great gift idea for your loved ones, and even more so for someone who might be feeling low lately.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year Treats

Who wouldn't want to start the year with some of our fantastic sale items?! We have such fabulous offers to treat our very special customers including my personal favorite Vivienne Westwood shoes! these classic black heels in Melissa’s bubblegum scented PVC with a crocodile effect, scream class and glamour. They feature a Mary-Jane strap across the front of the foot which fastens with a gold heart-shaped buckle and not forgetting that bubblegum scent. Also available in blue and pink. Grab them before all the sizes disappear!