Bright Future for Spiritual ShopThe future looks bright for Andover retailer, Iain Smith, after Test Valley Borough Council awarded him a £1,000 Independent Retailer Grant in recognition of his hard work setting up his new store, The Haven.

Located at 3 Waterloo Court, the shop specialises in spiritual products and offers a variety of great gifts, from essential oils and books to crystals and tarot cards. Although Iain’s background is in IT network engineering, he has always had a passion for all things spiritual and decided to take the plunge setting up his own business after the unit at Waterloo Court became available.

Iain said, “I would like to say a big thank you to Test Valley Borough Council for giving me this grant. I had always wanted to run my own shop and this £1,000 grant gave me the extra confidence to go ahead and pursue my ambition.

“My wife and I are both spiritualist mediums but it is difficult to find somewhere that stocks spiritual products, so many people have to rely on the internet. We will be offering a website so people can buy products online too, but I am so pleased we are able to give people the opportunity to come in to our shop to browse and buy, find out more about what we sell and come to us for any advice and guidance they may need.”

Local ward member, Councillor David Denny, said: “It was great to meet Iain and present him with his first £500 cheque. This is such a great and unique shop and I have no doubt that it will continue to go from strength to strength. I would like to wish Iain all the best for his future.”

Recipients of the Independent Retailer Grant receive £500 after three months of trading and a further £500 six months later. To be eligible for the grant, new or existing independent businesses must occupy a town centre ground floor unit which has been vacant for at least one month. Qualifying businesses include shops, restaurants and cafes.

Further information about the Council’s business grants can be found at www.testvalley.gov.uk.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at