Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Regal Retail

Until recently, the quaint market town of Tetbury in England's Cotswolds district was best known for the antique shops lining its narrow, cobble-stone streets. Now there's another reason for visitors to flock to the Gloucestershire town. Last month, the area's starriest resident, Prince Charles—whose rambling country pad Highgrove is just outside Tetbury—set up shop there.

The store—Highgrove Shop—stocks a cornucopia of organic fruit and vegetables sourced from Highgrove's own Home Farm. There?s also china decorated with images of hens, designed by Samantha Buckley, an alumna of Charles's Traditional Arts School in London, and soaps infused with hypericum plucked from his gardens.

So far, the store's royal connections have been drawing in the tourist crowds. "We've even had people from America signing the vistors' book," says Sally Jarrett, the shop's manager. But it's not only those eager to experience a slice of royal life who are turning up. Local residents are regulars too, snapping up chutneys, honey and leeks. The store's Champagne and red and white wines have also proved popular, perhaps because they're the very same as those served at official functions in the Orchard Room at Highgrove.

Even the usually cynical British press has nodded approvingly at the store, both for its relatively competitive pricing and the fact that all the store?s profits go towards the Prince's various charities and projects. And for those who can't make the trip across the pond to visit the royal corner shop, not to worry. Later this year, the store will launch its own Web site, and the goods will ship worldwide.

—Nina Jones for W Mag.

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