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Four family-owned Ipswich shops to reopen this June

PUBLISHED: 12:30 27 May 2020

From left to right: Brothers Robert Manning and John Manning alongside mother Wendy Childs Picture: Paul Nixon Photography

From left to right: Brothers Robert Manning and John Manning alongside mother Wendy Childs Picture: Paul Nixon Photography

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The Childs/Manning family, who have several businesses on St Peter’s Street say they are looking forward to welcoming customers back

A selection of beautiful clocks, mirrors and pieces of furniture Picture: Robert ManningA selection of beautiful clocks, mirrors and pieces of furniture Picture: Robert Manning

Having been a staple of Ipswich’s town centre for over two decades, the Childs/Manning family’s independent shops came to a halt when they sadly had to close their doors to the public due to the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

However, after a couple of months of operating behind closed doors, the family is ready to reopen its shops on Monday June 15 – with an assortment of quirky wares available across its four St Peter’s Street-based shops.

Speaking exclusively to the East Anglian Daily Times, Robert Manning said: “I think like everyone, we were quite shocked having to close our shops. Nobody has ever experienced anything like this before so didn’t really know what to expect.”

Remaining hopeful however, Robert added: “We have stayed positive though, and have been busy making improvement to the shops for when we are able to reopen. We have also had so many people saying to us that they will be back to see us when we do open again, which is so nice to hear.”

Maud's Attic sells accessories such as handbags and jewellery Picture: Robert ManningMaud's Attic sells accessories such as handbags and jewellery Picture: Robert Manning

Robert Manning owns a shop next door to his mother Wendy Childs, and his brother John. The family has owned Maud’s Attic and The House In Town for over 20 years, and more recently Revival @ Merchant House Interiors, alongside the second premises of The House In Town. All four shops are based on Ipswich’s St Peter’s Street – a hub for independent local businesses.

Throughout lockdown, the family were keen to ensure that their loyal customers could still browse their wares from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

“While we are a family of shopkeepers, we have a Facebook and Instagram page for each shop. My brother John, who owns The House In Town, also has a website.

“Between the shops, we keep thousands of items in stock which is impossible to show online. We do rely on customers being able to physically browse our wares,” Robert said.

A range of garden ornaments for sale on display Picture: Robert ManningA range of garden ornaments for sale on display Picture: Robert Manning

“We have had some enquiries through all the social media pages, but also a lot of kind messages from people asking how we all were, and telling us they are looking forward to when we open again.”

While keeping in touch with customers during lockdown, the shops have been busy ordering stock, making sure they were well-prepared for re-opening.

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“Across all of the shops, we have had a lot of new stock arrive this week and will continue to - we always have new stock in every week,” Robert said.

Fancy owning this colourful lion ornament? It could be yours Picture: Robert ManningFancy owning this colourful lion ornament? It could be yours Picture: Robert Manning

With summer fast approaching, the family have had an abundance of garden furniture and ornaments arrive, including table and chair sets, and hanging baskets.

“My shop has a fabulous garden area for people to look around, and during lockdown my brother has completely renovated his back garden which is currently being filled with exciting new ranges,” he added.

This is a new addition to its shops’ range of furniture, artwork, lighting, mirrors, clocks and accessories. Maud’s Attic is also famed for its vast range of jewellery, handbags and accessories.

“We try to be a bit quirky and offer something different to everyone else. We also offer wedding lists, and a home staging service in addition to items for the home, gifts for him or her, or if someone would like to treat themselves.”

Go bananas for this monkey fruit bowl Picture: Robert ManningGo bananas for this monkey fruit bowl Picture: Robert Manning

In accordance with the Government’s announcement on Sunday 26 May, all shops deemed non-essential will now be allowed to open as of Monday 15 June.

“For the month of June, we are likely to be open Tuesday to Saturday, then we will look to return to our usual days of Monday to Saturday soon after. We are very flexible, and offer free delivery and installation across all of our shops.”

With shops getting back on their feet over the upcoming months, will the high street recover from such an unprecedented shutdown?

“We have always remained positive and although it has been a worrying time for everyone, it’s good to see we have come through the worst of it hopefully,” said Robert. “It will be nice to see people beginning to get back to a normal way of life.”

Just an example of some of the quirky wares that the Manning family has been selling over the past two decades Picture: Robert ManningJust an example of some of the quirky wares that the Manning family has been selling over the past two decades Picture: Robert Manning

“I do think the high street might change a bit, especially for the bigger retailers - but I think more people will shop locally and support independent businesses,” he added.

“Maud’s Attic has been going for nearly 25 years now, and what we try to provide is a different shopping experience to the high street.”

Visit The House In Town’s website for further information.


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