Cats and dogs take kids’ clothing store from Marken Rasen

Leesa Swab- Pritchard
Leesa Swab- Pritchard

Little’s Millberry’s, an upmarket children’s clothing shop, looks set to close after failing to find a buyer.

Leesa Swaby-Pritchard opened the shop nearly two years ago in King Street, Market Rasen, in the former Sofia’s Boutique.

But after her and husband Stephen recently took over her parents’ kennels and cattery in Laceby, running both businesses became too much.

Leesa had worked in dog grooming for 22 years, but says opening a children’s clothing store was always something she had wanted to do.

“It got too much splitting myself in two. The kennels business is very hands on. I do that before I come here and it’s very demanding. Then, it’s back for tea and I have to feed the dogs again. It has taken it’s toll.”

Leesa decided to sell the business after Christmas, so a summer sale would match the delivery of seasonal stock.

The shop has been on the market for several months, with one potential buyer looking to carry on the business, while another might open a coffee shop, but nothing is settled yet.

“If we are not careful, it will be high street full of charity shops and coffee shops. You need the independents.”

Leesa says business has been “fine if you run it yourself” but the shop is not profitable enough to employ staff. Trade is also a little down on last year, perhaps due to a lack of economic recovery, or maybe the Rasen area is “not used to this sort of thing.”

Leesa plans to be out by the end of July. Though many items are discounted already, there will be no closing down sale. ‘Friends’ in the trade will buy her remaining stock.