UP-CLOSE: Meet the owner behind Kingston’s new family-run gift retailer

By Oliver Monk

9th Jun 2024 | Local News

Owner of Between the Lines, Lindsey Kleinlercher, outside her business’ latest location in Kingston. (Photo: Oliver Monk)
Owner of Between the Lines, Lindsey Kleinlercher, outside her business’ latest location in Kingston. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

A new family-run gift retailer, Between the Lines, has reported customer feedback 'has been amazing' in its first month of business in Kingston town centre.

Nub News met with owner Lindsey Kleinlercher along with some of her staff to find out how business has been at the brand's 18th store, located a stone's-throw from the marketplace on Thames Street.

"It's a beautiful town," says the owner, adding: "We're really enjoying being here."

The business was established in Midhurst under a different name by Mrs Kleinlercher's father Norman Brine 60 years ago. She remembers the shop fondly.

"I worked there as a child," she explains, sharing how she remembers spending hours working on the Christmas displays in the shop window which the brand is now known for. 

Between the Lines Kingston is just around the corner from Kingston's Ancient Marketplace. The store is a regular at Zoe's Flowers for its pots at the front door and Phoreal for lunch breaks. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Ever since that first store, Between the Lines have opened in several market towns in south England, with Kingston being the latest addition alongside towns like Sevenoaks, Saffron Walden, Godalming and Reigate.

Yet the brand is still undeniably a family-run one. Mrs Kleinlercher's brother is in charge of marketing. Her husband is the company's managing director, while daughter Ellie helps run the business' supply chain.

"We believe in good old-fashioned customer service," says Mrs Kleinlercher.

"If people make the effort to not shop online, you need to make it worthwhile," chimes in Area Manager Jo Wilks.

The owner adds: "You need to treat your staff right of course."

Between the Lines bucks the trend of many retailers when it comes to their staff, giving employees alternating weekends off as well as introducing a 4-and-a-half-day working week since the pandemic to improve work-life balance.

The approach seems to be working, helping the business retain dedicated staff that contribute to the ethos of the family-run brand. Mrs Kleinlercher shares one story where the shop reopened for a young girl and her mother, who arrived just after closing to buy a birthday gift for a sleepover that evening.

"I remember the little girl standing at the door with her fingers crossed," she adds.

Mrs Kleinlercher got back into the family business as a buyer after returning from Australia, where she worked as a nurse. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

"The feedback has been amazing, I mean really incredible," says Ms Wilks, with customers telling her and the staff that the store is 'just what Kingston needed'.

Despite the positive response from locals, the Between the Lines team say this is just the start.

"We're a very seasonal business," says the owner, explaining that it's not uncommon for stores to get four times the business during the Christmas period.

Mrs Kleinlercher says their advent calendars – "not with chocolate, more traditional ones" – are especially popular.

The team wants to bring the Kingston location in line with other stores in terms of offering locally-sourced products. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

You can find Between the Lines on Thames Street in Kingston town centre selling gifts, cards, books, and more from 9:30am to 6pm Tuesday to Friday, and 9am to 6pm on Saturday.

The store is also currently looking for a new store manager, with more information available here.

     

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