Fleet sits within the district of Hart, consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the UK. As a shopping destination, Fleet may not have the large department stores or brand names associated with larger towns but instead has an incredible number of independent shops. Many of these are 'destination shops' - places that people will travel from miles away to visit.
So here's an A-Z run through of the shopping experience in Fleet including some things you may not know about:
Antiques - we have a lovely Antiques shop right in the High Street selling items from a range of dealers - they also have a great tea room at the back - with cakes to die for.
Barbour Coats - Tackle Up Fleet sells Barbour coats - one of the most extensive ranges in the area and more than many department stores.
Click and Collect - you can buy online and collect from many stores in Fleet including John Lewis items from Waitrose, M&S and Argos also offer this service for some eBay sellers.
Dancewear - we have our own independent dancewear shop stocking items for many local dance schools as well as making bespoke costumes.
Economy - spending money with a local independent business means more money stays in the local economy. And spending money with national chains in Fleet helps too as they employ local people.
Fireworks - why buy from a supermarket when we have an independent retailer in Fleet - yes it's Tackle Up once more - there's even a car park around the back. And of course it's the place to go for fishing tackle, bait, clothing and equipment as well as expert advice.
Gifts - forget Not on The High Street - it is in Fleet with plenty of gift shops you can find something original. Sugarplum Boutique & Home even have personalised Fleet gifts for the best Mum, Dad or teacher in Fleet.
Hart Centre - we have our own shopping centre which has many of the stores you would associate with a typical High Street - Boots, WHSmith, Rymans, Waitrose, Cargo (even Basingstoke doesn't have a Cargo)
Italian restaurants - there are national chains as well as El Castello - consistently winning awards and voted the best restaurant in Fleet.
Jewellery - we have lovely independent jewellers on the High Street as well as Equinox who have been in Fleet for 10 years and now sell online.
Kitchen - Bakers is a wonderful shop and has many things for the kitchen. The national chains of Cargo, Robert Dyas and Argos sell many kitchen essentials.
Ladieswear - we are spoilt for choice for Ladieswear includng RocksX (who now also stock children's clothing), SugarplumBoutique & Home, Sienna Cruz and of course Experience which has been in Fleet for over 20 years and attracts customers from miles away.
Markets - we have two markets in Fleet: the regular Saturday morning market in Gurkha Square where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, plants bread, meat, fish and household items and the monthly farmer's market at Elvetham Heath on the second Saturday of the month. These are listed on our events page.
Menswear - for men who know how to dress well you can't go wrong with 217 Menswear - stylish and high quality clothing for men.
Not everything you hear is true - A recent survey by Fleet Future also showed that Fleet has a 9% vacancy rate for all retail units, including the Hart Centre, which compares to 13% nationally.
Opticians - with three independent opticians as well as the national chains we're spoilt for choice.
Photography - you can get photos developed, buy frames and much more at two independent stores in Fleet. There are also many photographers with home studios such as Matilda Orchard who do wonderful family photoshoots.
Queues - you can avoid the pain of sitting in a parking queue by shopping in Fleet. Parking is a contentious subject but The Hart Centre has pay on exit parking and at £1 for up to 2 hours or £2 for up to 4 hours is affordable.
Refreshments - whether yours is an Americano, skinny latte, Earl Grey or milkshake with or without cake there are numerous places catering for every taste in Fleet.
Skiwear - people travel from as far as Kent to visit our specialist ski shop for clothing and equipment.
Sewing - another destination shop for Fleet with people travelling from miles around.
Travel - 2 independent travel agents for a personal service which isn't necessarily more expensive than booking directly.
Upcycling - as most high streets we do have charity shops in Fleet but the quality of items can be high - so look out for a designer bargain.
Vouchers - many shops sell gift vouchers - if you don't see just ask.
Wedding - we have a wonderful independent wedding boutique right in the heart of Fleet.
Xmas - yes it's on its way - what better way to support local businesses than pledging to Buy Local this Christmas?
You - individuals make the difference and determine whether a High Street thrives or not. You have to use it or you will lose it.
Zeitgeist is "The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time". The idea of supporting High Streets and local businesses has a huge following but it is down to every single one of us to make a difference - we have to act to make a difference.
Member since: 27th June 2014
I have over 20 year’s marketing experience working for companies including Hewlett Packard, Royal Mail, Hitachi and AQA. I live in Fleet and am the owner of thebestof Fleet helping small and medium companies...