The owner of a family-run fabrics shop which has operated for almost 35 years in Romford has announced its closure.

Ashley Brook Fabrics, in Romford Shopping Hall, will have its last trading day on Saturday, June 1 according to owner Tara Simpson, 51, who called it the “end of an era”.

Tara told the Recorder that her shop sold a variety of items from dress fabric, upholstery, curtain fabric and tablecloth fabric and their business has been ongoing in Romford since the 1960s.

The store in Romford Shopping Hall, she said, was started by her brother in 1990 and she is the youngest and the last one in her family to carry it on.

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“My daughters have other careers now, so they are not interested in it. It’s all just very difficult now. The internet plays a role in it. There are so many retail shops now. The lockdown didn’t help as well. Before we were very busy, but it all sort of dwindled after the lockdowns”, she added.

Romford Recorder: Tara called the shop's closure 'the end of an era'Tara called the shop's closure 'the end of an era' (Image: Tara Simpson)

She further said that the business used to serve dance schools and made costumes for them, but the schools have now turned to shopping online.

“A lot of them are repurposing stuff now or buying something cheap off the internet. They are not making it custom anymore. So, it’s a lot of different things really.

"I need a life, a day off too”, she continued.

After closing the store, Tara revealed she is going to continue carrying on their custom-made curtains, blinds, and upholstery business.

Tara said: “A lot of people didn’t know we did curtains and blinds, and it was almost a separate side of the business. Maybe pop in for some leaflets and say hello."

Michelle Petty, manager at Romford Shopping Hall, added that it is "really sad" to see the fabrics shop go as it had been in the marketplace for years. 

"It is sad, but we wish Tara all the very best for her future", she said.