Cornish Christmas gets going in July

26 July 2013

APEX

Starting early:  above and below: nativity sets and Advent calendars in the cathedral's Christmas Shop in Truro  

Starting early:  above and below: nativity sets and Advent calendars in the cathedral's Christmas Shop in Truro  <...

We might have just experienced some of the hottest summer weather for years, but in Truro they are already preparing for Christmas.

Last Friday, the Cathedral opened a store in the heart of the city's shopping centre, stocking the usual requirements for a successful festive season. And if the idea's a cracker, it will be repeated for Easter.

Officials hope to cash in on the busiest summer-holiday months. The cathedral has successfully run a Christmas shop inside its walls for the past five summers, and now the plan is to take it to the tourist market.

In a statement, spokesman for the Dean and Chapter said: "We want to take advantage of the huge number of people who come to visit our city during the summer."

 

The shop manager, James Barker, said: "The company that runs the shop on behalf of the cathedral felt there was a retail opportunity to develop our presence on the high street. We have really been surprised at how well the Christmas Shop works. People seem to appreciate the quality of the traditional range of items we hold; our nativity sets always sell well. We are going to give it a go, and see what happens."

It may seem a "bizarre decision", the manager of Truro's Business Improvement District project, Neil Scott, said, "to open a Christmas shop on one of the hottest days of the year, but I understand that some of the best trading months for the cathedral's Christmas-gift ranges are July and August. The opening of the Cathedral Shop is an exciting and innovative venture, and a great way to bring a uniquely Truro and Cornish offer to a broader audience."

The Dean of Truro, the Very Revd Roger Bush, said on Wednesday: "The high-street shop is just around corner from the cathedral. What goes on inside the cathedral is a bit of a mystery to many people, even though it has a prominent place in Truro; so a high-street outlet just gets the cathedral a bit more noticed.

"We wanted to develop the idea of 'Now you've seen this, come into the cathedral and see what's going on in there.' We are hoping for a bit of cross-fertilisation. We see it as a real benefit, having that higher profile out there in the commercial centre of the city.

"We will review the situation in the New Year, and, if it is still a feasible proposition, we will carry on. If it works, great; if it doesn't, I'll be the first to apologise and say, let's move on."

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