Hopes that dress shop will help regenerate north of town centre

Dani and Lisa Barely at their shop Mousetrap, North Street, Havant
Dani and Lisa Barely at their shop Mousetrap, North Street, Havant
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The owner of a high-end boutique says the people of Havant have welcomed her with open arms.

Lisa Farley has moved her wedding and prom dress shop, Mousetrap to North Street Havant, after 17 years in Chichester.

The building she has taken over, which is owned by Waitrose, was once a run-down empty unit with a small Post Office at the back.

Lisa and daughter Dani have transformed it with chandeliers, blue velvet chaise longues and ornate dressing rooms.

But, having spent so long in Chichester why did she move to Havant?

She explained: ‘We needed space to expand our range and the premises in Chichester were too small.

‘There was nothing bigger in Chichester we could afford so we had to move. Here we get premises six times the size for half the price.

‘This is the perfect location. It’s just a minute from the train station, it’s close to the motorway and there is good parking.

‘A lot of our customers come from the Portsmouth area anyway so it’s nearer for them.

‘Waitrose has been very supportive. They are so pleased to have us here. And the people of Havant have welcomed us with open arms.

‘They’ve been popping in to say hello and say how happy they are that we have arrived.

‘It’s perfect, it ticked all the boxes.’

North Street was once a run-down area of the town but is now on the up.

Lisa and Dani believe their boutique will only add to the area’s regeneration.

‘There are empty shops in Havant but that didn’t put us off because we saw the potential,’ said Lisa.

‘There are a lot of empty shops in Chichester too now. It’s happening everywhere.

‘The shop was packed over Saturday and Sunday, our opening weekend. We were rushed off our feet.

‘We want to be part of the community. We will be holding fashion shows for charity. People should approach us if there is something they want to do.

‘If there is something that will be good for the local area we would like to be involved.’

Mousetrap was founded more than 40 years ago as a casual wear shop.

But, as more clothes stores such as New Look and River Island opened in Chichester, Lisa changed the range.

People come from across the south to pick up wedding and prom dresses and she has no fear that they will not continue to do so.

But the move from Chichester was tinged with sadness. Lisa warned 
that if the business rates in Chichester continue to rise other independents may also be squeezed out of the city.

She added: ‘Chichester is in line with London for the rents and rates and it’s not in line with the rest of the south coast.’

Go to mousetrapdressboutique.co.uk.