The Economy Looking back
The loss of 70 jobs at Jarvis Contracting in Feb 2023 came as a shock with that section of the Jarvis Group going into administration. The Homes & Commercial sections continue trading.
The High Street has also suffered significant losses with the closure of three independent retailers in Feb/March all due to significant issues with increased rent and rates compounded by tough trading conditions. Coppers Boots and Shoes: Parker & Vine; Creature Comforts. Phase 8 a Ladies Boutique also closed in 2022. The trend in Bank closures has escalated with the Lloyds closure and the imminent closure of HSBC in July.
However trend of closures hasn’t deterred new businesses moving in. Clarendon Fine Art, Harris + Hoole, Jessica Wilson Jewellers, Main Hairdressers and on April 4 Majestic Wines.
Southdown Shops were equally busy with a new Emilios restaurant, the return of Jelley’s Meats, and the new Lazy Bear coffee bar owned by celebrity chef Theo Michaels.
The Lyndhurst Personal Financial Conference on October 14 at Rothamsted Conference attracted a large audience which featured speakers from a wide range of high profile companies like JP Morgan, Mishcon de Reya, Foresight and Just Group.
Coldharbour Lane had two new additions with the Small Removal company who moved from Southdown Industrial Estate and Pan Autos .
The Queen’s Jubilee in June gave a welcome boost to the local economy.
The Herts Business Growth Show at Rothamsted Conference Centre on April 27 is a new venture to provide local companies with business insight, ideas and networking opportunities going forward.
Rothamsted Enterprises and Rothamsted Research continue to dominate as employers with links to national and international operations. Also on the international front, Cisco, one of the world’s biggest tech companies has an engineering division here in Harpenden town centre.
The new 63 bed care home development in Coldharbour Lane for Porthaven Properties should be completed later in the year. Adjacent to the new Chelford House it will make for a busy section of Harpenden employment.
Other small businesses continue to trade almost unnoticed in a number of small developments around the town.
EMC is now hosting more shows after record audience of over 10,000 at the Xmas panto.
The High Street (inc Southdown) will be looking for a Coronation boost in May and whilst some shops are finding business tough going a number of categories appear to be booming. Estate Agents with nine units, eleven Hair Dressers, nine Barbers, eleven Charity Shops. The Hospitality sector shows no sign of decline with a new Persian restaurant open in Harpenden and a new Sushi bar in Southdown.
With interest rates remaining at a high level it will put pressure on rent increases. Inflation is also showing little sign of falling which will impact household budgets and resulting consumer spend. A year of uncertainty ahead?