Gift shop Something Different is set move online at the end of this month after seven years on Midhurst’s High Street.
Silvija Stewart made a spur of the moment choice to start up the business in 2011 and worked hard to turn the vacant unit, formerly an estate agent, into a destination store for visitors and locals.
The seven-year lease comes to an end in the new year and the shop will close its doors from November 30 – but continue via a new website.
Silvija said: “It’s been a pleasure, it’s been just wonderful, a wonderful time for me and I’ve had wonderful customers. It’s been a journey. I just think retail business is difficult at the best of times nowadays.
“I’m hoping to concentrate more on the things that I’ve been passionate about – I travel a lot, I love unusual, colourful things and hopefully I can get that going online.”
She said she hoped the shop had helped Midhurst and its retail centre. Opening at weekends, she said, had been especially helpful for catching visitors to the area.
“People came to me as a destination, a lot of customers, loyal customers from London and elsewhere. I think it’s been a good thing,” she said.
For now, Silvija said she was looking forward to being home for Christmas without the pressure of looking after a shop at the same time.
But having started the outlet as her first ever company – ‘everybody starts retiring at 60 and I decided I was going to start a business’ – the retail bug has stuck.
“The time has come to move on but I still love it so I’m going to try my hand at a bit of online shopping,” she said.
“I still think there’s a market for unusual things and people want something different.”
The shop’s stalwart companion, Scruffy the mechanical dog, had multiple offers of a new home but Silvija has agreed to let the popular four-legged friend go to Fitzcane’s over the road.
Fitzcane’s owner Caroline Cheshire said: “Something Different on North Street will be sorely missed but we are thrilled it will continue online.
“Fitzcane’s are just happy that Scruffy can continue to bring a smiles to the families of Midhurst.”
Something Different is holding a closing down sale.
The shop will be getting a new website for placing product orders at www.something-different.uk.com