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‘Oldest’ independent shop in Ilford Owen Clark to close on Saturday

PUBLISHED: 14:36 24 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:19 24 September 2013

One of the oldest independent shops in the borough is closing its doors on Saturday with the owner saying “all good things must come to an end”.

"I looked forward to coming to work every day over the past 48 years"

Tony Clark

Art materials and stationary shop Owen Clark, in Cranbrook Road, Ilford opened in 1928 and in its heyday had 25 staff.

The shop was founded by owner Tony Clark’s grandfather and father who said after failing to find a buyer, he is shutting it down to retire.

Saturday will be the shop’s last day of trading with everything being sold half price.

Mr Clark said: “It’s a nice business to be in and it’s been very interesting.

“I looked forward to coming to work every day over the past 48 years.

“We have had so many people coming in saying they are heartbroken we are closing.”

He said a contributing factor to the closure is that school art and technology departments, a major source of income for the shop, do more art and design on computers now.

“Lots of the art materials are not used in schools anymore,” Mr Clark added. “I wonder if, in the future, masters will have the signatures of Epson and Cannon.”

During the 80s the shop expanded into the neighbouring premises and they even had an outlet at Newham College, East Ham which used to have a large art department.

The shop is now back to being a single unit and its six members of staff have been made redundant.

Mr Clark said: “Four of them have been working there for more than 20 years – it’s a nice company to work for.

“I will miss the everyday camaraderie of staff and customers both in the shop and over the phone.”

He said that he has been trying to sell the shop, despite it still being profitable, for the past four years and at one stage thought he had a buyer.

“The banks are not lending at the moment so he was not able to get finance,” he added. “In the end I decided to just close the doors and retire.”

Did you ever go to Owen Clark? We’d love to hear your views on its closure by email newsdesk@ilfordrecorder.co.uk or tweet us @ilfordrecorder.


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