But there are bright spots as well, and we’ve found one in Chelmsford, England, where a group of staffers from the recently closed Faith shoe store are reopening as an independent shop.
Even sweeter: the new incarnation of Faith… is Hope!
That’s right. The employees laid off when Faith closed earlier this year are reinventing themselves as the retail entrepreneurs behind Hope Footwear Ltd.
Spearheading the project are 26-year-old former store manager Justina Pay and 22-year-old former supervisor Roxanne Ransom.
“None of us wanted to get out of the retail industry, and it was such a shame that we closed,” Roxanne told me during a break from decorating the new store.
“We got together and thought, why not reopen it? We had all that knowledge and a great, experienced team, and once we had the support of Faith suppliers, we became really excited about reopening as an independent company.”
The store founders know the retail outlook isn’t much stronger than a few months ago, when national shoe chain Faith entered administration--kind of like the UK's version of filing for bankruptcy--and closed 70 stores across the country. Even so, Roxanne hopes she’ll see “a huge rush” of shoppers pouring through the doors after the grand ribbon-cutting this Saturday.