In the latest of our spotlight on features, we return to the vibrant King’s Road to meet Ange Maughan from Gather & Stow and talk about cool interiors and quality coffee.
Go to Gather & Stow and three things happen. One, you’ll stay far longer than you intended; two, you’ll most probably buy something cool and three, the word ‘fresh’ will spring to mind a zillion times in a zillion different contexts.
The shop sells the clean designs of wood, glass and metal furniture and other objects that characterised mid-20th century interiors. There’s a sense of the fresh and the stylish.
Then there’s the shop itself. Since it opened, Gather & Stow has brought something, well, fresh, to the already buzzing King’s Road. Finally, the welcoming smell of fresh coffee entices people inside to browse and chat with ever-present owner Ange.
Ange spent many years owning and running shops in the north of the county. She says: “I was 20 years old when I ran my first shop. I’ve always wanted to be a shop keeper, I don’t know why. It means I’ve had the right experience from a young age.”
She was a full-time mother for a while and then her interest revived in interiors and she opened a shop selling items for the home and as gifts.
Eventually, Ange realised that while she knew her customers and they knew her, which was good, she was becoming restricted in what she could sell, which was not so good.
She looked for a fresh market, came to Harrogate and found the ideal premises on King’s Road.
She explains: “I knew Harrogate a little and I liked King’s Road. The area is very residential and I could see its customer potential – thirty something couples who were first-time house buyers and who wanted to fill their homes with cool things.”
She then adds: “It’s working very well. The coffee draws people in and I get to know them quite quickly and they stay and chat. I’m buying a lot and selling a lot. I’m fitting in really well.”
Ange describes the shop as selling mid-century interior and new fair-trade objects. She has carefully arranged in the space chairs, tables, stools, lamps, textiles, cupboards, sets of drawers, shelving units, vases and pictures and at the back is a small and convivial seating area for the Rounton coffee and Tarte & Berry cakes.
She likes to buy items from outside the Harrogate area so that the offering in King’s Road is new and yes, “fresh on the market”. She uses her contacts in the North East and Leeds and buys items on a weekly basis and that has led to customers coming in regularly to see what is new.
She also uses 21st century technology to sell her 20th century objects. “Instagram works amazingly well and generates such an interest. I put everything straight on to Instagram and it helps to build trust with customers,” she enthuses.
But there are things she doesn’t do. Ange says she is very selective so she doesn’t do house clearances and she is not a second-hand shop and won’t buy from people who come in the store; not least because she wants to know the provenance of the items.
Chairs are a popular item and Ange creates a setting so that potential customers can see how a piece of furniture might fit in their own home. “Some people don’t have the confidence or time to imagine how things might look so I help,” she says.
Her own favourite object was a little Sixties teak roll-top writing desk and she also points out a stunning honey-coloured teak and glass library case.
The writing desk sat in the ample window of the shop looking out onto the busy thoroughfare. And Ange is keen to support her King’s Road community.
Giftery, which is also on King’s Road is her own independent recommendation. She says: “Elizabeth who has the shop finds lots of individually-sourced gifts and a great selection of cards, there is always something different and she also does gifts for men which is a great touch.”
In the meantime, back at Gather & Stow, it’s time for a fresh coffee and the chance to take a fresh look at the eclectic range of trendy items that this shop has to offer.