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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Vision Express takes over branches of Stephen Rowe Opticians

A fixture of Carlisle’s retail scene for almost 40 years has disappeared from view.

Stephen Rowe Carlisle photo
Stephen Rowe's premises on St Cuthbert’s Lane

The branch of Stephen Rowe Opticians on St Cuthbert’s Lane, which opened in 1976, has closed after Vision Express took over 65 outlets across the UK from holding company Rayner.

Branches in Penrith and Workington will also change hands, but those in Brampton, Wigton, Keswick, Maryport and Annan will continue to be owned by Rayner. It is not clear whether they will operate under the Stephen Rowe banner.

A Vision Express spokeswoman said the firm, which has a store in The Lanes, would “seek to retain the valued experience of the new teams within the Vision Express store network”.

Stephen Rowe was owned locally until 2001, when it was sold to Rayner.

Eric Hagan, who runs opticians in Brampton and Longtown and is a former director of Stephen Rowe, said he was sad to see the loss of the Carlisle store

He added: “When it was sold before a lot of the people left.

“They had liked working for a small, local practice.”

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