6 shops that closed in Ipswich during 2021
- Credit: Charlotte Bond/Sarah Lucy Brown/Gemma Jarvis/Archant
Like towns across the country, Ipswich has seen its share of well-known and popular shops closing in 2021 - including some big brands:
The last big department store in Ipswich, Debenhams, closed in May this year marking the end of two centuries of retailing.
This comes after Debenhams was bought by retailer Boohoo for £50million, while the building was bought by East Anglian property giant Unex Group.
It is thought plans are to keep the bottom floor as for retail, or other commercial uses, while the upper floors could be used as town centre flats, although no firm plans have been discussed.
Victory Mica Hardware
Previously named Richardsons Hardware, the Victoria Road shop reopened in 2019, after being rebuilt following a devastating fire.
- 1 Revealed: The most popular Suffolk fish and chip shop
- 2 Goat dies and ponies injured after dog attack
- 3 Man was allegedly battered to death in Ipswich guest house, jury hears
- 4 Explained: What the cost of living support package means for you
- 5 Two men steal pedal bike from outside Ipswich primary school
- 6 Final homes in 75-house development to go on sale
- 7 What time will the Red Arrows be flying over Suffolk this weekend?
- 8 Ipswich business worry as customers rein back spending
- 9 Ipswich family celebrate their funny and likeable son with football match
- 10 Delays near Orwell Bridge after wheels of trailer carrying boat fall off
However, the shop has now closed, with the owner Fevsi Hurum blaming Covid:
He said: "The reason the shop has been closed is because of Covid.
"We didn't get enough funding from the government. People didn't use it enough, If you don't make money and you are losing money, you have to find another solution."
A new business, Castle Hill Barbers moved into the empty building in September.
West End Music
West End Music, in Norwich Road, closed after decades providing "a musical rock" to the community.
James Garden, owner of the Norwich Road store, said a number of factors had led to the closure, explaining "the lockdowns certainly haven't helped".
"We have been closed for eight months out of 12 and it hasn't been viable," said Mr Garden, who owned the shop for five years, and worked there for 17.
Mr Garden paid tribute to Brian Booker, who owned West End Music, operating under the name Whitmores for 25 years before he took it on.
Ipswich Topshop closed in January, with about 10 members of staff being made redundant while muted on a conference call.
One former employee said: "They said that they'd been told shortly before by the administrators that it was happening, so they obviously wanted to tell us as soon as they could.
"I think everyone kind of knew what was coming. We were all on mute as well so when they said it, it just went silent."
The fashion brand was bought out by Asos following owning company Arcadia's demise, but this has not led to the Ipswich store re-establishing itself.
Aldi: Meredith Road
The Aldi located on Meredith Road has closed, following the opening of a new, larger store in Europa Way, close to Sproughton Road.
However, with the new shop more than a mile from the old one, it has been causing some residents issues.
Whitton Councillor Christine Shaw said "I've had many people from the neighbourhood getting in touch who are upset about the closure, because they really use it.
"A lot of people walk to it or get the bus to it. People who have cars won't have a problem, but it's a real loss to the people who are vulnerable, who will suffer the most."
Kitchenware retailer Lakeland announced the closure of its Ipswich shop in December of 2020 and followed it up by closing in the next month.
The 15th century building Lakeland was in, the Ancient House on the Ipswich Buttermarket, has since been used as a venue for Spill Festival, and in October the council was understood to be in talks with a prospective tenant, although nothing has been heard of this since.