They pre-date where they are currently based by several decades, but one of Barrow Market’s best-known stalls is still going strong thanks to a loyal band of customers.

For over 70 years, Harts the Jewellers have been serving the people of Barrow by selling a selection of jewellery, watches and clocks, doing so from the market hall since 1971.

They were founded by Fred Hart, who both manufactured and repaired jewellery, while his wife was a ‘diamond sorter,’ who used to string pearls on necklaces.

The stall is now in the safe hands of his grandsons David and Mark Holmes, who have been working there for 49 years and 39 years, respectively.

A friendly customer service has ensured any first-timers are always encouraged to go back, especially by the free repair service they offer, which includes the replacement of watch batteries.

Mark Holmes said: “We always offered a good service and tried to be nice and polite to people, just like our mum and dad and grandad before us.

“Word of mouth has managed to keep us going in Barrow.”

His brother David added: “You’ve got to offer a service these days to survive because everything is internet-based or out-of-town shopping and you’ve got to make it an enjoyment when people come to see you.”

Harts reopened along with the rest of the market on July 4 after lockdown measures were eased.

The mostly sunny weather the country experienced during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic meant the Holmes brothers could at least enjoy the sunshine in their gardens while they were off and having to stay at home.

But they are pleased to be back and in-demand again, with David Holmes saying: “We missed meeting the customers and seeing people and interacting with them, like you do, because lovely customers are just like friends.

“A lot of our customers are third generation as well - their grandparents, their parents and now their children come here.”

Barrow Market administration assistant Jacqui Armstrong said: “They were in the old market when it was at the back of the Town Hall.

“Harts is an anchor business in the market. Everyone in the town knows who Harts the Jewellers are and the market is known for Harts the Jewellers. It’s a family name that’s well-known.”

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