Mitcham is continuing to attract new business as it gets ready to open a new branch of WHSmith Local next week (15 December).
Mayor of Merton Councillor Agatha Akyigyina will cut the ribbon and officially open the London Road store with manager and owner of the property Vijay Patel at 10am.
Having managed a stationery, picture framing and arts and crafts business out of the property for the past 30 years, Mr Patel will now run one of WHSmith’s franchise stores, WHSmith Local, launched earlier this year. The Mitcham store will be one of 15 so far opened in different locations around the UK.
The opening of this business comes hot on the heels of Mitcham hosting the borough’s Christmas light switch-on and is set to play an important role, along with the other businesses in Mitcham town centre, in contributing to the local economy and providing a broader shopping offer to residents. From his new store, Mr Patel will see planned changes to the Fair Green area in the New Year and the following months as new landscaping and changes to bus routes start to take shape.
Mayor of Merton Councillor Agatha Akyigyina said: “Mitcham and the people who live here are very much in my heart and it’s great to see new and exciting things happening here. Successful local businesses are vital to a thriving local economy as are good transport links and a place where people want to enjoy and spend time. Mr Patel knows Mitcham and his customers and I am very pleased to be officially opening this new WHSmith Local which I am sure will thrive under his management.”
Merton Council cabinet member for environmental sustainability Councillor Andrew Judge said: “The opening of a new WHSmith Store is very welcome and a milestone in the regeneration of Mitcham. We will be making a number of improvements to the town centre in the first half of next year, including landscaping Fair Green and the space surrounding it as well as bringing back the refurbished clock tower. This latest new business, and others that could follow, helps keep the high street vibrant by offering shoppers more choice.”
WHSmith Local Mitcham store manager, Mr Patel said: “We are delighted to have a strong brand name above the door. WHSmith Local will allow us to increase footfall, while at the same time preserve the traditional newsagent elements of our business. We are excited to welcome customers old and new to our store. We are an independent retailer currently providing photographic and passport services, stationery and artist materials, parcel and copy services, bespoke framing, as well as bureau de change services and money transfers and we are looking forward to adding the preserve of traditional newsagent by joining WHSmith brand. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers of the past 30 years for their continued support.”
Head of WHSmith Local, Kevin Whitehouse said: “We are looking forward to working with Mr Patel – this is a great way for WHSmith to be involved with the local community and for us to provide great opportunities for small business owners to discover new opportunities to build on their expertise. They will have a strong name above the door while ensuring that their business is still a recognised part of the community.”