New department store now open in Westgate Street

Kevin Baldwin, and ann stokes of baldwins with Lynne Jones, and Shannon Giles of posh coffee and cak

Kevin Baldwin, and ann stokes of baldwins with Lynne Jones, and Shannon Giles of posh coffee and cakes, both recently opened in form Brett's building in Ipswich

New home for Baldwins in former Bretts furniture store

There is a new department store open in Westgate Street, Ipswich.

The former Bretts furniture store has found a new life - still in retail.

Businessman Dennis Davis has opened his Posh Coffee and Cakes and a Crafts and Gifts Market on the ground floor, while former Co-op retail manager Kevin Baldwin has moved his Baldwins store into the first floor of the premises - selling a range of fashion, furniture, curtains and bedding.

The rear shop unit, alongside Black Horse Way, is another independent local business - My Dream Dress.

Dennis Davis said: “It is great to be able to do something at this end of town.

“It is all coming together.

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“I took on the lease of the building when it was sold, on the 26th of May.

“it has started well here and I want it to be busy as possible.

“We are trying to offer good quality reasonably priced food, and great coffee, and something different in the way of crafts and gifts. The emphasis is on good, simple food.”

Former Co-op retail and department store manager Kevin Baldwin has moved his Baldwins store from a unit at Tower Ramparts to the upper floor at Westgate Street, after being displaced by the re-building and re-construction which is turning that shopping centre into Sailmakers.

Kevin explained: “Our lease ran out at Tower Ramparts at the end of June and there wasn’t anything else for us there. We had a closing down sale.

“We knew we had to get out, and to find somewhere else, and we saw this unit and were interested.

“It had gone, to Dennis, but he was only going to use downstairs.

“I came to talk to him, and we shook hands and the deal was done.

“I worked for the Co-op for 26 years, in retail, and I never expected to be running my own stores.

“We know our customers. We have our ladies fashion, and furniture, and we are one of few places in the town centre you can get curtains and nets.

“It is a mini department store.

“Upstairs has a lot of beams and there are not too many stairs. It has a wonderful character.

“I am more than happy being here. It feels like a nice department store really.

“It is working out very well.”

My Dream Dress, owned by husband and wife team Dawn and Malcolm Wilkinson, sells fashion retail including celebrity costume fashion.

Dawn said: “We started on-line and were looking for a shop. My husband has competely fitted it out for its new use. He is very talented.”

The dress shop has its own entrance from Black Horse Walk as well as through the main building.

The Bretts family furniture business is still in town, and is now concentrated at its purpose-built premises in Bramford Road.

The family firm goes back 125 years and had been selling furniture from the historic Bretts Street premises from 1946 until its closure in Westgate Street.

Baldwins has stores in Stowmarket, Ipswich and Dovercourt and within the Hearts Delight garden centre at Manningree.

Kevin Baldwin opened his first store in Stowmarket, in October five years ago.

A second Baldwins followed in Upper Brook Street, Ipswich.

That store moved to Tower Ramparts and has now found its new home in the former Bretts store.