New shops in the town centre


Mr-P-shop-St-Peters-StThe recession has had a negative effect on many of St Albans shops. Woolworths was the first to go and many others like Tchibo, Jaeger and West One have followed. However, it is not all doom and gloom in St Albans town centre. Today, I came across three new stores.

Mr P’s is a newsagents which has such delights as Pic n Mix as well as toiletries, food, drinks, magazines and papers. It is situated where the jewellers was, opposite the Town Hall. Although there is another newsagents further up St Peter’s Street, this one is handy for those catching the nearby buses. This store is sterile and clean and the staff are open and eager to answer my questions.

Another shop known as ‘Near, Far and Fair’ has opened up near Tesco’s on St Peters’ Street. This is full of locally sourced produce, Fair Trade foods and Eco products like toilet rolls and soaps. Free range eggs, including duck eggs and fresh bread are also sold here. I have just tasted their cherry scones and they pass the test! For those who enjoy the Farmer’s Market each month, this is a sort of miniature version of it. It felt a bit cluttered but was full of shoppers.

Another recent addition is The Calender Store, which has opened in the place of the Tchibo store in the Maltings shopping centre. Full of calenders to suit every possible taste, I would assume this is just for the Christmas season! It will be a big hit with the masses of teenagers who fill this centre every weekend.

The sad news is that the Woolworths building is still empty and forlorn. There was talks of a restaurant opening in its place but who knows…..Seriously, who knows? We would love to hear from anyone who does!

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Maria Larmer lives in St Albans and is married with four children. She works as a Freelance Writer, English Language Teacher and Teaching Assistant. She has lived in Auckland, New Zealand for 9 years and prior to that in France, Germany, Austria, Edinburgh, London and Ireland. Her diary-writing has featured on 'The Wild Geese' Channel 4 and Radio Verulam. She has written for Hertfordshire Life magazine, Go Camping magazine, Camping magazine, The Catholic Times, St Albans & Harpenden Review, New Zealand Times, The New Beacon, My Weekly and various websites. She can be contacted on