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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Carlisle's Chapmans shop closed amid building sale rumour

A proud chapter in Carlisle’s retail history has closed as staff at the landmark furniture store Chapmans shut up shop.

Chapmans shop photo
Carlisle's Chapmans shop

The store on Victoria Viaduct had been selling furniture in the city for 165 years but its doors have now been locked and the ground-floor windows covered with white paper.

Amid rumours of a possible sale to another furniture business, staff were continuing to work inside the building yesterday.

A worker who was asked about the sale claim refused to confirm or deny it, but simply commented: “I’m sorry – we’re sworn to secrecy.”

The store’s closure – after the owners opted not to renew their lease on the shop – comes months earlier than expected.

It was initially announced that shutdown, with 20 job losses, would happen in September with management saying they hoped to carry out an “orderly closure” of the store.

Managing director John Chapman was the fifth generation of his family to run the business.

He said the decision to close had been sad, but continuing to trade would not have made business sense.

As the closing down sale got underway in April, manager Jim Booth, 54, said: “People were coming to collect pieces of Chapmans history. It was tinged with sadness, but we’ve got such a wonderful loyal customer base.”

A notice on the store’s main doorway thanked customers for that loyalty.

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