July 24 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Vote of confidence in Ipswich by furniture retailer
Local businessman Mike Harper is opening a new furniture store in Ipswich, in Star Lane between the town centre and the Waterfront.
Mike, who has been running his Home & Cane Living store at Stonham Barns since 1995, is branching out with a brand new Ipswich store.
Harpers is in Star Lane, next to Bear’s Bowling Centre, opens to the public on March 15.
Mike, who has been selling furniture all his working life, said: “We have been looking for premises for quite a long time in Ipswich. We feel the time is right to do it now.
“This is ideally placed between Ipswich town centre and the Waterfront.”
Mike, whose family is from Lowestoft first came to Ipswich to work for Fraser Maples in 1979, until that furniture store closed in 1984.
That gave him the impetus to open his first business, Martlesham Interiors, first in The Square and later within Brights nearby at Martlesham Heath. He said: “We ran that for 10 years, until Brights closed and it was too big for us to continue alone.”
Nineteen years ago he opened a first store at Stonham Barns, initially specialising in cane furniture.
“I could see the growing appeal of conservatories and decided to specialise in cane and rattan.
“We have expanded several times over the years there,” he added.
The Stonham Barns business was continuing, he said, and was very popular with tourists.
“We get a lot of visitors and deliver as far as Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, to West Suffolk and down into Essex.
“We wanted to bring the business to Ipswich. We feel there is a lot of potential here.
“It is about finding the right premises and the right location.
“It is good to be close to the Waterfront which is a very popular area and growing.”
The new Ipswich store will be run by Mike’s son, Bradley, who has worked in the business for 15 years.
The 5,000 sq ft of retail space will be used to feature a variety of oak and rattan furniture.
“It is very big at the momement.
“Rattan furniture comes mainly from places like Indonesia.
“We have American oak furniture made, to our own designs, in China and European Oak furniture in a factory in Bulgaria. They are also our own designs,
European oak tended to be oiled or waxed, rather than lacquered, he said, and was proving very popular at the moment.
The retail showroom has been empty for several years and has been fully renovated and refurbished, he said, ready for the furniture and furnishing ranges to be brought in, including bedroom, dining and living room ranges.
The opening date is being planned for Saturday March 15.