First published in the Saddleworth Independent
AN historic piece of the Lees High Street has been saved thanks to one woman’s determination to make her dream of owning a children’s shoe store a reality.
Browsing Facebook, a particular post announcing the sale of Pitter Patter Shoes, on Thomas Street, caught the eye of budding entrepreneur Rachel Davies, 36.
As someone who has a passion for working with children, she knew the time was right to throw caution to the wind and set out on her journey as a first-time business owner.
She said: “I’ve always worked with children, it’s my absolute passion. I have two wonderful boys of my own and I’ve been a stay-at-home mum for the past three years.
“It all started when I took one of kids to get a new pair of shoes. I was with my dad and when we came out of the shop, I said to him how I’d love to own my own kids shoe store.
“Ever since that day the idea had niggled at me, and then when the opportunity presented itself with Pitter Patter, I knew I had to go for it.
“I saw the advert on Facebook about a month ago that the shop was up for sale, and when I went in with my boys to get their feet measured, I got this weird feeling, like butterflies.
“When I left, I phoned my partner and I asked him if we should buy Pitter Patter, he was really supportive, so we put an offer in.
“About four days later, it was accepted and then three weeks after that I was standing at the door with the keys in my hand!”
Not only was it a fresh start for Rachel in the wake of the pandemic but also a new lease of life for a business that has been in the village for nearly 30 years.
Pitter Patter Shoes has now become Pitter Patter Kids, a fresh and vibrant venture that specialises in shoes for children.
“The cosey and homey environment is perfect for parents and grandparents to browse in peace, with plenty of amusements to keep the kids occupied on those shoe shopping trips.
After a quick spruce up, the business opened its doors to the people of Lees on June 25, though Rachel says that it feels like it has been much longer.
She said: “It’s still sinking in, I’ve absolutely loved every minute so far! Things are gradually starting to build up, but one of the challenges we have got is with the existing customer base.
“Because the shop had been closing down, a lot of people assume that it has so we want to reach out to them and let them know that we’re still here, under new management, and open for business.”
• Pitter Patter Kids is open on Mondays and Thursdays to Saturdays from 10am-5pm at 1 Thomas Street, Lees, Oldham, OL4 5BT.
From August they will be open Monday to Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-4pm.