Family drapers store to shut up shop ... after 80 years

Anne Worrall, Colin Buxton and Jo Armstrong behind the counter at Baldwins. Photo: Derek Martin
Anne Worrall, Colin Buxton and Jo Armstrong behind the counter at Baldwins. Photo: Derek Martin

Changes in people’s shopping habits have led to the end of a family drapers - after 80 years.

Baldwins have been in business in South Road, Haywards Heath, since 1935.

But the store is to finally shut up shop on September 3.

Over the 80 years the store has been trading four generations of the Baldwin family have worked in the shop.

Manager Colin Buxton said: “It is with gread sadness that our family have decided to close the business that my grandfather, Stuart Baldwin, started in 1935.”

He added: “Unfortunately changes to shopping habits mean that we are no longer able o provide the goods and services that we are renowned for in a cost effective way.”

Soon after Stuart opened the shop his daughter Stella joined him aged 16 and continued to work in the family business until she retired, aged 87.

Stella’s husband Fred Buxton joined the business soon after they were married and managed the shop until he died in 1967.

Stella and Fred’s eldest son Colin joined the business in the early 70s and continues to manage the business today.

Stella’s daughter-in-law Sue worked in the shop during the 1980s and 1990s and Charlotte - Stella’s granddaughter - has also taken her turn behind the counter since 2010.

Stuart’s son Bernard Baldwin, his wife Juneand their daughter Denise, have also been involved in the running of the business and could often be seen behind the counter at the twice-yearly sales.

Said Colin: “The ethos of our business has been to provide good quality merchandise and excellent customer service to the local community.”

Over the years Baldwins has supported many local trade events and has won several awards. They include first prize in the 1959 Haywards Heath Trade Fair, best newcomer at the Ardingly Show in 1989 and they were also nominated for a customer service award in 2006.

Colin added: “We have frequently been told by our customers that they are always able to get what they want at Baldwins and they hope that we will continue to be a part of Haywards Heath.

“Sadly this is no longer possible and we would like to thank all our past and present members of staff for their hard work and dedicatin to the business.

“We would also like to thank our customers, past and present, for their support.

“Without our staff we couldn’t have celebrated so many milestone years of our business.”