Holywell lies close to a Christian religious site popular with tourists and is a short drive from the Welsh coast, but it has always relied on its shops to fuel the local economy. In recent years, though, many have closed, including a stationery store, a drugstore and an appliance retailer. Then, in a matter of months, three of the town’s four bank branches closed.
Its High Street is a shell of its former self. Shopping is increasingly being done over the internet, and major retailers are able to drive down prices while offering premium services like next-day delivery on hard-to-find items.
Customers in Holywell can have their groceries brought straight to their front doors from online supermarkets like Ocado, and much else from the shopping behemoth Amazon. Instead of local grocery stores, residents can drive up to a mammoth Tesco supermarket a short distance from the High Street, or take the short walk to Home Bargains, a nationwide discount retailer.
Indeed, in much of Britain and the world, people can use smartphones and the internet to get restaurants to dispatch food to their homes, arrange an appointment with a repair person or cleaner, and have their laundry picked up. (Mr. Palmer joked that, for now at least, haircuts could not be delivered online.)