A CLASSIC MOVE
As Vareys Town and Country moves to new larger premises, owner Kevin Horkin reflects on how the store has evolved over the decades. Photography: Kirsten Platt
New-look Vareys Town and Country has established itself as a landmark on Clitheroe’s high street, moving into smart new premises giving it a dominant presence within the town’s retail sector.
Now housed in the historic, stone-built former Yorkshire Bank in the heart of Clitheroe, Vareys Town and Country is in a prime location – the prestigious building forms a perfect backdrop for the quality country-wear brands sold by this long-established retailer. Shoppers will be drawn to the attractive backlit window displays, while inside the store classic, high-performance brands such as Schoffel, Aigle and Dubarry are showcased.
Founded more than 50 years ago under the name of Ken Varey’s, over the decades it has forged a reputation for its high calibre collections of country clothing and footwear.
Kevin Horkin bought the store from Ken Varey in 1997 and it is a great example of a shop that has managed to evolve through the times to meet changing demands.
“Ken Varey’s was originally very much a traditional man’s shop, specialising in fishing and shooting equipment,” says Kevin. “Over the years we have changed to become much more female-friendly, and I would say we are now 50/50 in catering for men and women.
“Our womenswear section is full of beautiful and wearable styles from brands including Barbour, Joules and Dubarry. We have also grown to provide a large offering of footwear of all kinds. We make sure we meet all our customers’ demands in both performance and style,” Kevin explains.
The store is well-known for its unrivalled selection of classic clothing from high quality, well-known brands including Schoffel, Aigle, Musto and Joules, perfect for both town and country living.
“In what has been a very uncertain year, we have used our time productively and made the move to larger premises right in the centre of Clitheroe’s high street,” Kevin says.
“We are now in the old Yorkshire Bank at 2 Market Place and as well as being a prime location, the larger building allows us to showcase our many products in a really modern, attractive environment and also gives us more room to run our online store.
“We have reinvented our old premises on New Market Street into a complete footwear emporium. The Footwear Gallery is dedicated to all the footwear you could possibly need from specialist walking boots to wellingtons, and high-quality fashion footwear to British-made, hand-made shoes. You will find all your favourite brands including Dubarry, Barker, Joseph Cheaney, Loake, Barbour, Hunter and Fairfax and Favor, as well as socks and all the products to care for your footwear.
“We have made changes including increasing our online offering in order to future-proof ourselves, but I really don’t believe we will ever see a shortage of people wanting to visit Clitheroe,” says Kevin. “The British high street is certainly changing and the global pandemic has moved that change forward, but we are very lucky to live in a beautiful area. This ancient market town with its tremendous history will continue to attract visitors from all over.
“I’m in my 40th year as a retailer, I have seen many tough times and every permutation of financial climate for the high street. I’m delighted to say that Clitheroe is weathering this pandemic storm very well. The fresh air and views of our stunning Ribble Valley countryside combined with our amazing food and hospitality offering – and so much of it fresh, local produce – means we are very well placed as a destination to serve people coming into the town and keep them coming back. There is always something new to see or experience.
“Our strength is also in our wonderful residents that support our retailers. They are loyal and they truly want to make a difference by shopping locally helping to keep our town so vibrant.”
Vareys Town & Country
2 Market Place, Clitheroe BB7 2DB