Lavenham: Pauline’s Poky Parlour owner to shut up shop after 46 years

WHEN Pauline Elvin opened her fashion shop in Lavenham in 1966 with an overdraft of just �200, she could never have imagined her business would thrive for 46 years and survive three recessions.

Mrs Elvin set up the village’s first clothing boutique, Twenty Two, in the High Street and ran it for 28 years before moving to smaller premises a few hundred yards down the road, where she opened Pauline’s Poky Parlour.

But now aged 75, and having organised more than 400 fashion shows for charity during her retail career, she has decided to finally shut shop and retire – largely due to health reasons.

“Since I left school, running a shop was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” she said. “My husband Joe and I bought the shop and I remember nervously going to the bank and asking for an overdraft to buy stock. I paid that off within the first two weeks and after that I only bought new stock to replace items I had sold, so I never needed to borrow again during the whole of my career.”

Her business really took off in the early days, providing garments, accessories and even haberdashery and wool to staff at the former ER Holloway Limited cosmetics factory, and to the dozens of tourist who flocked to the village from the Continent, via Felixtowe’s popular passenger ferry services at the time.

Mrs Elvin recalled: “When I started, there was just one clothing shop in the village which was very old-fashioned, so Twenty Two offered something new. I never could have dreamt back then that the business would be so enduring and I am really proud of what I have achieved.”