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A Guide to Princes Risborough Part IV: Shops

5 Jul

Since I first started writing my guide to the quaint town of Princes Risborough, many new shops and amenities have opened up in the high street, obviously not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to be part of this bustling and vibrant place. Whether or not the residents of the town are grateful remains to be seen, but the one-way system implemented in the high street can’t aid many of the potential customers to the new businesses in the town, let alone the businesses themselves. With this system in place, it is ‘every business for themselves’ as they compete for prime location, hoping that people will be willing to do a half-mile detour so they can enter the high street from the designated end. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular places the residents of Risborough like to go (as well as ‘outsiders’):

Costa – The new coffee shop is situated at the top end of the high street, but this has helped other smaller shops around it as punters have to actually go past them to get to this trendy franchise. With its range of coffees, both hot and cold, as well as iced teas, Panini’s and overpriced cakes; Costa has seen itself busy from day one. When Costa first came to Risborough, a local resident said: “At least there is another empty premises that has been filled up. Costa Coffee has its own sort of customers so it will hopefully not affect the other cafes”. Quite what he meant by ‘own sort of customers’ is anyone’s guess, but I’m thinking he probably meant ‘pretentious snobs that can afford to pay over-the-odds for a drink’.  We all know that this is not true with Costa. The modern, more sophisticated coffee shop has become very popular, I can’t help but think that Alan Turner is missing the importance of having one in the town. Costa does more than ‘fill an empty premises’ – it attracts customers to Risborough, and gives them somewhere comfortable to socialise. Yes, there are other places you can grab a coffee, like, erm, actually, ignore that statement. If you want a good time, go to one of the pubs (already covered in one of my guides). If you want a laid back chat, then Costa is for you.

Ummm, lycra

A man burns his tongue on hot coffee and has to be comforted by friends

WH Smith – When I first heard that Risborough was getting a WH Smith, I couldn’t really believe it. I mean, how many residents can actually read? My next thought was ‘Is this the actual proper WH Smith franchise, or is some joker setting up a small brothel, with the WH standing for ‘Whore House’?’ I was disappointed when it turned out to be the book shop, after all, the library is over the road, and that only gets used by school children, pensioners and weird men that smell of dead cat. Despite this, it is nice to see another popular high street retailer taking a gamble on the town, and is ‘filling an empty premises’. Fingers crossed, Woolworths will soon follow suit. I suppose it keeps the number of charity shops down, which seem to breed like rats.

Shoes a-plenty. And old people.

There was no photo of WH Smith available, so here is a photo of Wainwright’s Shoe Shop. They sell shoes and boots and other footwear. But not crocs. No shop should sell crocs.

Cape Henley – The tag line for this home store is ‘Immerse yourself in our sumptuous home collections from Riviera Maison and bring the feel of seaside charm or a cosy armchair by the fireplace into your home’. Frankly, if I wanted the smell of piss in my front room, and seagulls crapping all over my fireplace, I’d invite an OAP round for coffee. The items on sale are actually lovely pieces, but will these be snapped up in droves by the majority of somewhat ‘behind with the times’ residents of the town? That remains to be seen. I like the fact that this shop seemed to just spring up from nowhere, like a creepy sex fiend.

A bright day in the town

There was no actual picture of the shop on the web, but it is just to the left of this car (trust me), which speeds up the high street after committing a drive-by shooting.

Gorgeous Giggles  – A gift and toy shop which opened a few weeks before WH Smith, and what an opening! A kung fu panda walked up and down the street with balloons, entertaining youngsters, by just looking all silly and stuff. I’m sure I heard one shopper shout out, “Look! What is a panda doing in Princes Risborough? Hahahah?!” Gorgeous Giggles was mobbed on opening day (I was lucky enough to be in Costa and see the crazy panda wandering about), and has since continued to remain quite busy. Fair play to the owners for bringing another shop to the high street which was starting to look a bit desolate, but unfortunately, the panda is no longer anywhere to be seen. He was last spotted entering one of the hundreds of Indian restaurants in the town.

Pervy bear

“Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”

There are plenty of other shops in town. The newly opened Chocolate Boutique (be warned: they do not sell chocolate) and the often thriving Rebecca Hill Art Gallery (be warned: they do not sell art), to name but two. With Princes Risborough Festival fast approaching, it would be an ideal opportunity for anyone of any age to visit the town and see the delights for yourself. Just be sure to bring some pocket money.

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