Department stores firm Baldwins takes second unit within Sailmakers shopping centre in Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
East Anglian department stores chain Baldwins has doubled the size of its presence in Ipswich.
The company was established in 2010 by managing director Kevin Baldwin, formerly area manager for the East of England Co-op’s department stores, and a small group of colleagues after they were all made redundant following the Co-op’s sale of the stores to the Vergo group.
Baldwins, which now has a total of five branches selling a mix of fashion and homeware, opened its current Ipswich store in the Sailmakers shopping centre last October and has now taken over a second unit next door, with three new jobs likely to result.
It previously had a store in the mall when it was known as the Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre but moved out ahead of a £4m refit which saw the centre relaunched as Sailmakers in 2015.
Mr Baldwin said: “We had been in Tower Ramparts before so when they asked us back we were delighted and it has been very successful.
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“With all that’s happened at the centre is great to be back – the revamp has been very successful and it’s a lovely place.
“There’s a good mix of retailers there with the nationals mainly downstairs and a good mix of more nationals and independents upstairs which gives a great deal of variety and people do like to support local businesses if they can.”
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The existing Baldwins store will continue to sell homeware, including bedding and curtains, while the new neighbouring unit is devoted to the company’s fashion offer.
Mr Baldwin added: “The extra space means we display a greater range of fashions and other stock and they will run as two completely different stores.
“It’s very exciting for us and hopefully will help us continue the successful comeback we have had at Sailmakers. It’s perfect for us. It’s in the middle of town and it’s just right for our customer base with the bus station right outside.
“We had found somewhere else in Ipswich and were there for over a year but we were always keen to come back so when the opportunity arose we jumped at the chance.”
Besides Ipswich, Baldwins also has stores in Stowmarket, Dovercourt, Halstead and West Mersea.
Mike Sorhaindo, centre manager at Sailmakers, said: “We were delighted to welcome Baldwins back and they are going from strength to strength here. They’re a very important part of our retail mix and command a very loyal customer base.
“We are continuing to welcome new businesses to the centre and already this year we have seen the arrivals of Crafty Cards and Gifts and Ravishing Beauty while Pep & Co have opened their shop within a shop at Poundland.”
In the last 12 months Sailmakers has also attracted Subway and bb’s coffee and muffins to provide a new food and drink offer while popular jewellery store Pandora, fashion brands Yours and Blue Inc and currency store Eurochange have opened and there have been major refits by fashion houses QUIZ and Topshop and The Perfume Shop.