By Tom Potter and Emma Brennan
Friday, February 1, 2013
SHOPPERS have been left surprised by the unexpected closure of a china merchant in the centre of a Suffolk town.
Hogg @ Home, in Woodbridge’s Thoroughfare, closed its doors and stopped trading overnight earlier this week.
It is unclear why the shop has closed but a sign posted on one of its whitewashed windows reads: “Thank you for being nice customers for nearly forty years. Life moves on, times change. Goodbye.”
Meanwhile, shoppers in Lavenham expressed shock at the news that Hogg @ Home’s second store – which has traded in the village for the past 40 years – is also due to close at the end of next week.
The East Anglian Daily Times was unable to contact the owners but business group Choose Woodbridge said it would strive to stimulate trade in the town. Chairman, Chris Harrold said: “We’re working on a number of ways to encourage more people to shop regularly in Woodbridge and support our independent retailers.
“We need to muster the support of the nearby communities, otherwise there is a very real risk that we’ll lose the variety, charm and personality of high streets like ours.”
The Lavenham branch of Hogg @ Home began trading as Martin Hogg China. Owner Martin Hogg also ran part of the business from a unit in Dedham during the 1990s.
Yesterday, staff were packing stock into boxes and taking “cash only” sales for remaining items. None of the shop workers would comment on why the decision had been made to close, but one member of staff said trading conditions had been “tough”.
Mike Hodges of the Lavenham Merchants Guild said: “It is a great shame to see a shop close down after being there for so long but it has been a very difficult trading year for everyone. But what is encouraging is that Lavenham has attracted a lot of new businesses in the last year – thankfully our shops don’t seem to stay empty for very long.”
Hogg @ Home sold chinaware, cards, gifts and other homeware items.