Caramel has sweet taste of success

NEW life has been breathed into one of the most historic buildings in Ipswich with the opening of a new boutique.

NEW life has been breathed into one of the most historic buildings in Ipswich with the opening of a new boutique.

Curson Lodge, on the corner of St Nicholas Street and Silent Street, has been bought by Jackie Rae and partner Francis Street, and is now trading as Caramel, offering independent-label ladies' fashion, footwear and costume jewellery.

Jackie, originally a hairdresser by profession but who has worked in fashion retail for the past three years, is running the business with the help of her daughter, Alice Catchpole.

“I could see a niche in the market for people from their 30s, or even 25, up to 60 who want to look nice and wear something different without having to spend a fortune,” said Jackie.

“I heard people moaning about having to go to Norwich or Colchester, or wherever, if they wanted something different from the big chains, but still reasonably affordable.

“We will also be a majoring on the personal side, which is something else you don't get from the big stores,” added Jackie. “If I spend an hour with a customer, then so be it.”

Most Read

Jackie, for whom Caramel is her first business venture, said she had not allowed herself to be deterred by the state of the economy.

“Everyone goes around saying there is a recession but I think it is time for people to stand up for themselves and see that there is a market out there,” she added.

The historic nature of the Grade II* listed building meant that considerable care was needed in fitting out the shop, and Jackie said local Ipswich company Monarch Joinery had done an excellent job

Curson Lodge, which is sometimes wrongly referred to as the birthplace of Thomas Wolsey (he was actually born across the road, in a building long-since demolished), is around 500 years old.

It is thought to have been an inn or lodging house in its early years and, for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries it housed a chemists' shop.

Other uses over the years have included a sweet shop, a caf� and an antiques shop but it has been empty for around 10 years, despite undergoing a major restoration completed in 2007.

“We are delighted to be breathing new life into such a lovely building,” added Jackie.