Rugby's Joto Hobbies to close after 37 years

File picture: Joto Hobbies.
File picture: Joto Hobbies.

Rugby's Joto Hobbies, famed for its Rugby rock and its Aladdin's cave layout, is set to close after 37 years of business.

The now iconic Lawrence Sheriff Street store was set up in 1981 by John Hughes and Tony Cooke and has since attracted customers from around the world - but Joto Hobbies has not been able to escape the problems independent retail outlets increasingly face.

Liz Twynholm, who took over the store in 2004 following the death of her father Mr Cooke, said: "We've been fortunate to have a great relationship with our customers over the years and I'd like to thank them for all of their support.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to serve Rugby over the generations and we will miss being part of the town."

Now the store, known to many as Rugby's Aladdin's cave of toy shops, will hold a closing down sale before shutting its doors for good once the stock has been cleared.

Mrs Twynholm said: "We are having a clearance sale so there will be a great opportunity to visit one last time and grab something for the kids to do over the summer holidays, a souvenir of Rugby or even an early Christmas present."

Mrs Twynholm's husband, Dave, said a lack of footfall in the town centre, combined with a rise in online shopping, meant the store can no longer stay open.

He added: "We want to celebrate the history of Joto Hobbies - we know grandparents who shopped at Joto Hobbies when they were younger who are now bringing in their grandchildren. The shop has been part of Rugby's furniture. This is the end of an era."

Mr Twynholm said the shop's close proximity to Rugby School meant tourists from around the world would stumble into the store after going to see the school.

He said staff always had great feedback from the tourists, who would often buy the store's famous Rugby souvenirs.

The shop sells a variety of toys, craft materials, modelling items and jigsaws .

In 1999 Joto Hobbies was named Small Business of the Year at the Rugby Business Award, that success was followed up by Best Independent Business in 2007 at the Rugby Borough Council Customer Care Awards and Best Overall Business in 2008 at the Rugby Borough Council Customer Care Awards.