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Carlisle's Chapmans building bought by north east company

The Chapmans store in Carlisle has been sold to a furniture and interior design business from the north east.

Dickinsons chief executive photo
Steve Traviss

Dickinsons Furnishers, based in Hexham, is taking over the Victoria Viaduct store in Carlisle and hopes to create 20 jobs when it opens in September.

Scaffolding was put up around the building this week to allow the roof to be repaired ahead of a major refurbishment.

The family-run interiors business, established in 1878, specialises in furniture, flooring and soft furnishings for individual clients as well as contract work for hotels, offices and hairdressers.

Dickinsons already has stores in Hexham and Alnwick. Carlisle will be its biggest shop.

Steve Traviss, chief executive of Dickinsons, told the News & Star: “We looked at a number of towns of which Carlisle was one. The Chapmans opportunity is something that we feel is right for us at the moment.

“We offer a complete front to back service for people coming into the store – from helping them select the products, to supplying them and installing them.”

The company has the biggest collection of designer fabrics in the north of England - 25,000 - as well as 8,500 wallpapers, 5,500 blinds and different types of flooring.

“We know what next year’s trends are going to be now and we use a lot of colours.

“Our business is different to what Chapmans did. It is a cutting-edge business, very design-led and it will be staffed by specialists,” said Mr Traviss.

Staff, previously employed by Chapmans, will be able to apply for the new jobs on offer but are not guaranteed a position.

“We are buying the building, not the Chapmans business,” said Mr Traviss.

The news is a welcome boost to business in the city. Suzanne Caldwell, head of communications for Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is really good news for Carlisle as it would have been a shame to see a building like that standing empty.

“A store like this will be a great addition to the mix of shops already trading in the city centre.”

In previous years, Dickinsons has won awards including, UK Independent Retailer of the Year, UK Flooring Fitter of the Year and UK Soft Furnishings Retailer of the Year. The firm is also a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen.

Mr Traviss said: “While the trade sectors we operate in have been extremely challenging during the last few years, we have continued to grow and develop by winning market share.”

The Carlisle store will take the company’s number of staff to more than 60 and turnover to more than £7 million.

Chapmans, which closed last month, sold furniture in the city for 165 years.

Meanwhile, Hoopers department store on Castle Street is continuing to trade as talks are ongoing between its owners and Cumbrian tycoon Philip Day, who wants to take it over.

Have your say

@ Bobby Dash - No... Not just another furniture shop, more than that, a complete home interiors studio which will be a pleasure to visit and compliment the other businesses in Carlisle.

In times of recession it is great to see a business actually bucking the trend and winning business.

Posted by Andrew Coulson on 11 August 2012 at 15:17

What on earth are you on about Bobby Dash?

A knee jerk reaction? By who? You do realise that the only people involved are the people who own the lease, and the people who want to buy it.

Who would be reacting?

Posted by Jim on 9 July 2012 at 21:50

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