Name: Gail Laser
Business Founded: Love Barnet
Biography: I began my working life whilst at thirteen as a Saturday girl in a local hairdressing salon where I earned £1.50 for a long hard day. Then I joined M & S who wanted me to join their management training scheme but my parents insisted I stay at school to take my exams…..really!
I left school at sixteen and started writing copy for a small marketing company and from there joined a well known fashion company where I was fortunate to quickly ride up the ranks.
After marrying and having two children I did many things including working for the company that sold the first online retail shopping site to Toys r Us.
I moved to Chipping Barnet in 1999. Back then I loved the High Street and its shops, the prospect of almost village life so close to central London, the visual delights of a pond opposite my home, the green and the trees. Having school age children, the excellent schools provided in the area added to the appeal.
Due to commitments I stopped working but when life settled down I decided to train as a psychotherapist but didn’t give up trying to build a better high street and local economy. I joined The Barnet Society, a local organisation that held views and wishes similar to mine. I became more and more active. Sadly the High Street, like so many, began to decline. In 2012, the year of the UK Olympics, I was part of a local team that won a bid by the then Mayor, Boris Johnson, to fund High Street improvements and community engagement.
I set up the Love Barnet Facebook, Twitter and Website pages as a way of continuing communicating with the local community, residents and businesses and celebrating everything we love about the area and to create a community forum.
Through Love Barnet we want everybody in our community to have a say and become involved in creating a town we are proud to call home, a place of peace and beauty, with a happening buzz and the best of food, culture and shopping right on our own doorstep.
I have in the last few years and with a lot of local help, and with thanks to local charity The Eleanor Palmer Trust and The Spires opened three pop up shops, 89, Billy & Betty & Tea Station, with mostly local women and now one of the shops, Room 89, has become a successful home and fashion boutique owned and run by one of those women with and her new business partner.
I have also been privileged to run several pop up craft fayres with thanks to the management team in Bentley Hertfordshire, again on our High Street.
I am currently Vice Chair of the Barnet Society and our local Town Team. I have two adorable grandsons’ ages four and seven and another grandchild due this summer.
How lucky am I !
So far we have managed to de-clutter much of the pavement furniture along the High Street, update the church garden in the town centre, improve some local shop-fronts and champion new businesses and the new market. But there’s much more to do.
Visit The Love Barnet facebook page.