F. Hinds’ new Harvey Centre store in Harlow is one of the retailer’s largest stores to open in 25 years and was aptly marked by its first customer, Mark Rapley, selecting an engagement ring.

That same afternoon he proposed and Alyson Meek accepted, helping to celebrate the official opening along with Councillor Edna Stevens as the official ribbon cutter.

The new Harlow store has five display windows lit by LED lights, plus two modular seating areas for visitors. The 1,900 square foot store includes an onsite watch battery replacement centre and the company also has in-house jewellery and watch workshops.


Andrew Hinds, director and current deputy-chairman of the National Association of Jewellers, said: “We were delighted to have such a romantic story to celebrate our new store. I believe this is the first time that our very first customer wanted to make such a significant purchase to mark one of the happiest moments in their lives and we were delighted to have arrived in Harlow in the nick of time to help!”

The couple were assisted by manager, Charlie Parker, who was previously the manager of F. Hinds’ Bishop’s Stortford branch. He now has the support of six locally recruited new staff. Two of these, Hannah Fleming and Courtney Rowlett held the red ribbon, with Michelle Baker, Katherine Field, Carol Hyde and Maxine Mighty making up the rest of the team. Poppy (11), Andrew’s daughter and sixth generation, presented flowers to Councillor Stevens and Alyson Meek.

The company is family owned and run, specialising in diamond, gold and silver jewellery, watches, clocks, collectibles and giftware, and offers services such as repairs, bespoke jewellery design, valuations and Gold for Cash.