£5m store to create 70 new jobs

EAST Anglia's largest independent furnishing retailer is planning a new £5million showroom, creating around 70 new jobs. Bury St Edmunds-based Glasswells has purchased a large site on the Orwell Retail Park in Ipswich, including the former Courts furniture store which it aims to transform into a landmark 73,000 sq ft store - similar in size to its existing World of Furniture showroom in Bury.

EAST Anglia's largest independent furnishing retailer is planning a new £5million showroom, creating around 70 new jobs.

Bury St Edmunds-based Glasswells has purchased a large site on the Orwell Retail Park in Ipswich, including the former Courts furniture store which it aims to transform into a landmark 73,000 sq ft store - similar in size to its existing World of Furniture showroom in Bury.

Subject to planning permission - an application for which is due to come before planners on Thursday this week- the new branch will open towards the end of this year.

It will be nearly four times the size of Glasswells' existing store at Martlesham Heath and, with a new glass frontage and an increase in height to accommodate a mezzanine floor, will be an eye-catching presence on one of the main approaches to the centre of Ipswich.


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Managing director Paul Glasswell said: “Many people in the Ipswich area will know us only for our Martlesham Heath store. This new showroom, which will be on two floors, will be much larger and will carry a far wider product range.

“As well as dining and upholstered furniture, we will sell beds, floor coverings, curtains and linens, lighting, giftware and cookware. We will also have an in-store designer service and will also offer contract furnishing for businesses. The plan is for a one-stop furnishing shop for this area.”

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Like the Bury St Edmunds showroom, the new store will also have a restaurant - Place to Eat - which will be open daily for tea and coffee, as well as home-cooked cakes and meals. There will also be a Playzone for children, equipped with toys and video lounge.

“Glasswells plans to offer something very different to other furnishing retailers in the town,” said Mr Glasswell. “We're a family business and we have a real commitment to the region.

“For a start, we want to build a very attractive landmark building with a stunning glass frontage to replace the current 1970s building. We're also planning substantial and sympathetic landscaping.

“There is a lot of development going on in and around Ipswich at the moment, and we see it as an area with a great deal of potential,” he added.

“We've had a store at Martlesham since 1995 and it's always done well. We're now ready to take our investment in east Suffolk to a different level, based on that experience.”

Glasswells currently operates the Furniture Now outlet store on the Orwell Retail Park, on the corner of Ranelagh Road and London Road. Furniture Now will close as soon as building work can begin on site, although the Martlesham Heath store will remain open for the foreseeable future.

The two other stores on the Orwell Retail Park - occupied by Pets at Home and Focus DIY - will remain unchanged as a result of the redevelopment of the Glasswells store.

Glasswells is a family company, set up by Paul Glasswell's grandfather more than 60 years ago in Bury St Edmunds. There are further Glasswells showrooms in Saffron Wal-den and Haverhill and the company also has divisions specialising in contract furnishings, furniture removals and storage.

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