Sandra Gidley apologizes to Romsey Cavendish clothing store for ‘shocking’ Facebook comments

A Test Valley Borough councilor has apologized for an online comment that left the owner of a new clothing store “feeling flat”.

Sandra Gidley, who represents the Romsey Abbey Division, sparked an outpouring of responses after she criticized Cavendish at Bell Street – a business in her own neighborhood – just days after her womenswear store opened last Thursday.

Responding to a Facebook post about the store’s launch, the former MP said: ‘Hmm. I wouldn’t be dating a Sunday and my wayward husband bought some goods that didn’t last well!’

Dozens of residents and loyal customers have come to the defense of Nick Michell – the owner and founder of both stores – leaving rave reviews. However, he said the reviews still leave a sour taste.

“I went to work on Monday feeling really depressed and, to be honest, I had to go home,” he said. “My reputation is everything to me, and seeing it threatened by an adviser of all really hurts me.

“She should be there to embrace local and independent businesses, not hurt them. I’ve had a lot of people come into the store to tell me not to feel bad about it. left flat at what should be an exciting time.”

Councilor Nick Adams-King was among those who hit back at Cllr Gidley for his remark. He wrote: “Sometimes as a politician the wisest thing is to say nothing at all. I think that would have been the best choice in this case.

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“It is absolutely shocking that the Downtown Borough Councilor is choosing to publicly dismiss an independent business that is not only successful, but growing.

“Our independent retailers face an extremely difficult environment, the last thing they need is for their local representative to be not only unsupportive but downright disagreeable.”

Cllr Gidley has since responded to the backlash. She said: “I made a consumer comment which, in retrospect, I probably should have kept to myself. I hope all businesses in Romsey do well – we have a very thriving town which is great to see.

“A lot of people responded and said, ‘I actually think it’s an awesome store and I’ve had a lot of really good things from them.’

“I’m sorry, I put it there. I think people should apologize when they’ve said something they regret.

“The comment is there for everyone to see, I’m not going to go back because it was literally a conversation I had with my husband. But I like to think I’m a very fair person of mind, and he actually got a fair amount of publicity from that.

“Having 100 people say ‘you’re awesome’ is much more powerful for the business than one person saying ‘actually, I’m not so sure’.

“I would certainly like, if I’m welcome, to give the business a second chance because I think that would be the only right thing to do.”

About Renee Williams

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