Ipswich’s Barnard Brothers to close permanently
Ipswich pet shop Barnard Brothers has announced it will be closing permanently after more than 100 years in the town.
A sign in the window of the shop in Woodbridge Road informs customers it will close for the final time on July 31.
The original Barnard Brothers shop was opened in 1908 by Tom and Harry Barnard, just 23 and 19 at the time, at the corner of Grimwade Street and Fore Street, then called Church Street, and sold animal feeds.
They bought the current premises in Woodbridge Road in 1935 and the shop prides itself on being a specialist supplier of pet and animal foods, horse feed and equine supplies while also stocking a range of garden products.
It became limited company in 1951, by which time Harry’s four sons - Len, Richard, Ray and Geoff - had started working for them.
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Richard’s wife Olive Barnard, talked about the business in 2008 as it celebrated its centenary.
“My husband, Dick, worked at the Fore Street shop and I remember the 1953 floods when the water in the shop reached counter-level and a lot of the stock was ruined,” she said.
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“Another shop was opened in 1968 in Bramford Road. Len ran the business there until he retired in 1983 and the shop was sold.
“Meanwhile, due to increased traffic in the area and parking difficulties the Fore Street shop was closed in 1973 and Dick joined Ray and Geoff at Woodbridge Road.
“Sadly Geoff died a few years later while still in his 40s. Over the years the firm saw many changes and in later years the focus moved more towards pet foods and garden products.”
The business left the family when it was sold by Richard and Ray Barnard in 1994 when they retired, but it continued trading under the Barnard name, until now.
Managing director Andrea Heath said: “The lease is coming to an end at the end of the month.
“It’s very sad that it has come to an end after all these years.”
Public tributes have poured in, with those in Ipswich sharing fond memories for the store.
One person said: “I used to go there for dog and chicken feed when about seven or eight years old, that’s 60 to 70 years ago.
“Geoff Barnard was also very active in Scouting...a lovely chap and often met him in the cross-troop activities.
“I think we rode into our summer campsites in the back of a Barnards’ lorry. Again, another era coming to an end.”