A shoe shop that has provided generations of children with footwear for nine decades has taken the “very sad decision” this week to sell only adult stock.
Hilda Sheldon has been running Brammers on Station Road in Biddulph for more than 50 years but has decided that for a “variety of complicated reasons”, including the impact of the lockdowns, it was the end of the line for the supply of children’s shoes.
The store will reopen next Monday, 12th April, in line with the Government’s easing of covid restrictions but only shoes for gents and ladies will be available.
Mrs Sheldon told the Chronicle: “It was a very sad decision for us. It was for a whole variety of complicated reasons that we came to decision not to sell children’s shoes any longer.
“It’s difficult trading times and children’s shoes are so easily available at outlet shopping villages such as Freeport.”
Describing the pandemic’s impact on the business she said: “These have been incredibly difficult times.
“Our sandals and summer stock had been purchased by the March lockdown last year and the same thing happened after Christmas as we had bought in our cold weather wear such as winter boots.”
The shop had had a Clarks fitting accreditation for 90 years.
Reflecting on the decline of British shoe manufacturing over the years she said: “Clarks shoes were manufactured in 27 different places in Somerset at one time and now they have all gone. It’s like what happened to car manufacturing.
“It’s a very awkward time for us and very upsetting but we’ve had to take that decision.”
She said Brammers had received “the most wonderful testimonies” since announcing the decision to end the sale of children’s shoes.
“Many customers were not local and came from Cheshire and beyond. When people visited Biddulph from London, they would come to buy shoes from this little shop.
“We had a loyal base of people who would come a long, long way to buy their shoes from us and we will look back at those happy times.”
Mrs Sheldon added: “But we are still here and we would like to thank everybody for their wonderful messages of support and we hope customers will return for adult shoes. We wish all the generations and generations of children who have worn our shoes every possible success.”
A post on social media said: “It is with great sadness that we have decided to finish selling and stocking children’s shoes.
“We will still be selling high quality ladies’ and gents’ shoes with our commitment to our exemplary customer service.
“We will be selling the remainder of the children’s stock half price when it reopens.
Mrs Sheldon said: “The original store started as a shoe repair shop and also sold good quality shoes. This was 90 years ago when it was selling farmers’ boots. It sold good quality products and then started to sell children’s shoes and offered craftsman-quality repairs as well.”