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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Carlisle city centre shop closes after 18 years

A city centre shop has closed after more than 18 years.

Pauline Hartley photo
Pauline Hartley

Famous Names in St Albans Row – below the Old Town Hall – shut its doors on Thursday.

Owner Pauline Hartley, 52, said: “I was planning to close today but by Thursday afternoon I’d sold everything.

“I only put the closing down sale sign up on Monday and now everything is gone.

“I decided to go because my lease was due in June and I didn’t really want to sit under scaffolding for six months while they renovate the Old Town Hall – so that kind of made my mind up.

“The rent and rates for a city centre shop are quite expensive and I didn’t want to tie myself in to a lease I couldn’t get out of. It’s not because of the recession because I had a good little business.

“The council didn’t think the scaffolding would affect the businesses in any way but my windows were one of the selling points and everyone used to comment how nice I kept them.

“I was a very loyal tenant to the council and have never owed them a penny. I just feel they haven’t been very fair to me.

The shop sold women’s clothing and over the years Pauline says she had built up a loyal clientele.

She said: “I will miss the customers as I’ve got my regulars – mainly older ladies. I got my stock from warehouses.

“I didn’t have any staff working for me so I made a lot of friends. A lot of my customers are devastated that I’m going.”

Mrs Hartley is going to retire and spend some time with her husband.

A spokeswoman for Carlisle City Council said: “It’s disappointing that one of our long standing tenants has decided to cease trading. We wish her well for the future.

“The shop unit will be marketed in the near future and hopefully re-let to a new business. An inquiry has already come forward from a potential new tenant. ”

Meanwhile, the council says work on the Old Town Hall is going to plan.

The spokeswoman added: “The scaffolding is currently being erected and will be completed by next week, with the canopy over the roof being lifted into place late next week.

“The scaffolding will also be netted, and partly enclosed by boarding to avoid any detritus or dust falling through.

“Signs will be erected on the scaffolding next week and will include ‘Business Open as Usual’ signs for those in and around the building and promote the temporary relocation of the Tourist Information Centre to the Cathedral Lodge.”

Across the street, the Alternative gift shop will close its temporary store next to the Crown and Mitre Hotel tomorrow .

The shop opened as a pop up shop for Christmas.

Alternative has its main branch in Carlisle under the Old Town Hall. It also has a branch in Keswick.

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