Independent jeweller entangled in “flower row”

An independent jewellery retailer is in the middle of a dispute with a flower-stall owner, after asking for the stand to be moved to a new location.

Alongside a clothing retailer and shopping centre, Beards Jewellers in Cheltenham has asked a long-standing flower-stall to move from its position next to the store, claiming the stand spoils the view on the high street, and puts some shoppers off visiting the area.

The flower-stall has been in its current position, next to the jeweller, for 11 years, whilst Beards has been in its position 240.

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While some has questioned why the jeweller has started a dispute now, the managing director says its more important than ever for high streets to be appealing and to pull in shoppers, but he worries the flower-stand blocking the view could put off people who do not know Cheltenham very well.

While the managing director admits that the stall has had a “minor impact” on the visibility of his jewellery store, he insists the main issue is the high street needs to do all it can to drive business during tough times for bricks and mortar retailers.

Beards managing director, Alex Rose,told local newspaper, Gloucester Live:  “We pay £75,000 a year for rates. It’s hard here. It’s a very minor problem with the flower stall but we do object.”

Gloucester Live says at a meeting with traders and the borough council last month,  flower stall boss Mark Morris was given three options. He was invited to move the stall closer to the Promenade and turn it around so it faces the arcade, move it up against the side of adjacent shop Molton Brown or move it to the start of the pedestrianised area of the Promenade, near where a street vendor currently sells coffee. The suggestion was that he tried one of the options on a trial basis.

The flower-stand owner wants to stay where he is though, and has more than 3,000 signatures on a petition backing his stance.

It appears the town is divided over where the flower-stand should be located, and Beards’ managing director claims staff are now being verbally abused and have been subject to “hostile” online messages.

The newspaper reports Rose sharing: “We had people coming into our shop and swearing. Someone said ‘What the f*** are you doing to the Flower Man?’”

“Some messages I had were hostile. It all got out of hand on social media.”

The flower-stall owner, Mr Morris, says any abuse the jeweller has experienced is not his doing and he does not “condone” such behaviour.

Beards’ managing director has stressed that he wholeheartedly supported the stall being on the Promenade but not in its current position.

The council will make a decision about the flower-stalls fate at a meeting of its licensing sub-committee on October 3.

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