End is nigh for historic Rugby shop

Annie Salter, Jodie Hawkins, Penny Appleyard and Andrew Salter outside the family businesss home for 131 years. NNL-161207-163438001
Annie Salter, Jodie Hawkins, Penny Appleyard and Andrew Salter outside the family businesss home for 131 years. NNL-161207-163438001

After four generations and 131 years, one of the great names of Rugby’s High Street will close its doors for the last time on October 8.

Salters opened in January 1885 but now Andrew Salter has decided to get out while the going is still good.

He’s sold the building, hopes to sell the hire business as a going concern and in the meantime is running a winding-down sale on all the menswear.

He said: “The business is still profitable but the cost of trading on the High Street now outweighs the benefit, the rates bill alone is in excess of £18,500 per annum.”

And he’s not the only one to have felt the impact of Marks & Spencer – and others – leaving his end of town. Where once names like M&S, Heaphys and Country Casuals, along with Summersault and his own shop all helped create a buzz, that attraction has been watered down.

M&S headed to the new-look Elliott’s Field, which has attracted a string of major names and, he believes, made a significant difference.

“Things like that can’t be built without an impact,” he said. Rugby’s an absolutely booming town but it’s passing us by in the middle.”

Born and bred in Rugby, Andrew took over management of the business in 1985, aged 19, after spells learning his trade in shops in Liverpool and Tunbridge Wells.

Since then he’s seen customers come from far and wide, among them luminaries such as the Rothschilds, Jeremy Clarkson and Jeffrey Archer – and has also enjoyed many good times.

The Rugby World Cup and the impending arrival of the World Rugby Hall of Fame also give him hope that as the town centre looks to reinvent itself, tourism could be key.

“I love Rugby as a town and it will pick itself up eventually but all town centres will have to dramatically.

“The World Cup was a huge success and we did well out of it. We had no end of visitors and they all thought it was a wonderful town.

“Hopefully, the Hall of Fame will start the ball rolling for tourism.”