The story behind independent clothing retailer Paul Stephens in Bury St Edmunds

Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens
Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens
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There is very much a family feel to independent men’s and women’s clothes shop Paul Stephens in The Traverse in Bury St Edmunds.

Mother and daughter Judy Young and Emma Curtis both work at the shop while Emma’s seven-year-old daughter Lola, has helped out at weekends in return for pocket money.

Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens

Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens

Judy bought the shop from Peggy and Steve Golding six years ago, while long serving employee Cathy Howes was already working there when Judy joined 22-years-ago.

“My children had started school. I was a customer in here, then one day Peggy said to me, ‘Do you fancy some hours?” said Judy.

She asked for first refusal when the couple said they intended to retire.

“They kept their word – they knew me and Cathy and wanted to keep it as a family. They still pop in.”

Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens

Cathy Howes, Judy Young and Emma Young at Paul Stephens

The shop used to stock men’s suits and shoes.

Now it sells exclusive brands of covering a wide age range while there is also a women’s section upstairs which stocks the largest range of Sandwich clothing in Suffolk.

Emma who started out as a Saturday girl, took on responsibility for its on-line sales two years ago.

“We are now getting orders from Australia, Canada, Ireland. Our on-line orders are going really well,” she said.

Emma meanwhile puts the shop’s success down to its friendly staff.

“Its a social place. People don’t want to go to a high street shop and be ignored.

“They come here, chat, share their problems. Sometimes they buy something, sometimes they leave it but they come back.”

The business meanwhile is proud of its window displays which it updates twice a week and which won best Christmas window display in Bury last year.

“We change our window display twice a week and people often comment on how wonderful it is,” said Judy.

They also take part in fashion shows including one in June at Ickworth House in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care, and another in December at Culford School.

Visit www.paulstephensclothing.co.uk