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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Shoppers flock to Chapmans closing down sale in Carlisle

Thousands of people poured through Chapmans’ doors to mark the beginning of the end of an era.

Chapms sale
The store is closing down

The 165-year-old furniture company is a Carlisle institution, and the news that the owners were not planning to renew the shop’s lease in Victoria Viaduct was met with sadness last month.

Although the shop will not close until September, it began its closing down sale yesterday.

The initial two-day private sale is an invitation-only event but bargain hunters were so determined not to miss out they queued for up to three hours before the doors opened.

Carol Westmorland, 43, of Cumrew, near Carlisle, was the first to arrive at 7am – albeit more by accident than intention.

“I thought the doors opened at 9am, not 10am,” she admitted. “I was on my own until about 8am. I had seen a silver chest that I quite liked and when I got the letter about the sale I knew I had to have it.”

And without hesitation, when the doors were unlocked Carol, a cycle racing champion, was off like a sprinter from the blocks.

Delighted, she later showed off her new purchase, explaining: “I ran in and grabbed Jim, the man in charge, and asked him where it was. We then ran off, and I had to sprint to get there – I left him behind. But I got it and I was the first sale.”

Her Sophie chest was reduced from £859 to £599.

Joining Carol at the front of the queue had been Glynis Faulkner, 62, from Wetheral.

Arriving at about 8am, Glynis was also determined to bag her prize, in her case a wardrobe to match a set she already had on order with the company for her bedroom.

Door staff had recorded 100 people entering the shop within the first ten minutes, and the queue seemed never-ending. By 10.45am, staff were forced to shut the shop doors and prevent anyone else entering for “health and safety” reasons, until some of those already inside had left.

Marian Simmons, 56, travelled all the way from Kendal to ensure she bought her piece of history.

She knew she wanted a chair and desk, and was delighted with her bur oak desk and swivel leather chair - and a saving of £1,670.

Marian added: “You get quality furniture here and the people are very good. It is very sad that it is closing down.”

Some visitors were more sentimental than others, attaching fond memories to the business.

Carole Ferguson, 65, from Lowry Hill, Carlisle, admitted: “Part of me feels like I shouldn’t be here, a bit like we’re picking over the bones.

“I was talking to one of the staff though, and he said that Mr Chapman wants to go out with a bang.”

She added: “I bought my first new piece of furniture from this shop in 1969, just after I got married, and I still try and buy from here when I can.”

Carole bought an oak coffee table to replace her “nice-looking MDF one”, and some pillows.

Her friend, Pat Harris, from Stanwix, Carlisle, had nothing specific in mind, but said she was considering buying a mattress.

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