Stowmarket: Family toy shop, Simpsons, will close on Christmas Eve

Simpsons Toy Shop in Stowmarket is to close after 100 years of business. Father and son team, left t

Simpsons Toy Shop in Stowmarket is to close after 100 years of business. Father and son team, left to right, Ernest and Phil Baker. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Father Christmas has one last chance to visit a family toy shop which is set to close after trading for more than 100 years.

Simpsons Toy Shop has announced it will close its doors on Christmas Eve after finding trading difficult in Stowmarket.

The owners announced in September that they were expecting to close their doors for the last time this year.

Phil Baker, who runs the shop with his father Ernest, said: “It’s picked up a little because of the sales – with 20% off everything across the store – but we are still closing. It will be kept open until Christmas to get rid of the stock.

“The staff have all gone; it’s being run mostly by the family now. The store seems to be getting busier at this time of year.

“We will stay open until Christmas Eve unless all the stock is gone before then.”

He said there had been offers to buy all of the remaining stock but they had all been too low.

The traditional store in Bury Street has now been put up for sale as the family make preparations to leave the premises.

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Owner Ernest Baker said the shop had been struggling for the past four years and it would be a “sad day” when it closes. The family said shopper numbers had dwindled since online stores became popular and more people had access to the internet.

The business’s first location was near the current Royal Mail office in Ipswich Street, when it was called W Simpson & Sons.

Following a period of trading there, the shop moved closer to the town centre near the Market Place in 1892. It relocated to its home in Bury Street in the 1930s.

Famous sporting faces such as Ipswich Town hero Mick Mills and former boxing champion Frank Bruno paid special visits to the store over the years.

Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership said it would work to encourage shoppers to venture up the street.

People have taken to the “Save Simpsons Toy Shop in Stowmarket” Facebook site to express their sadness at the closure.