BURY St Edmunds will witness the end of an era this Christmas Eve as Barwells closes its doors for the final time as the business moves online.
Judy Harper, whose family have owned the Abbeygate Street shop for the last 12 years, said the economic climate had meant the business was expanding faster online than on the high street and that it was time to take the final step on to the web.
The iconic food shop, which sells a range of meats and game, pies, cheeses, wines and Christmas treats, has been trading as Barwells since 1860.
The premises will be occupied from January 3 by cake shop Patisserie Valerie.
Judy said: “Things have changed and they have evolved and you have to look to the future.
“We will still sell the same great homemade products but will deliver them on a weekly basis to the people in Bury.
“And don’t worry, the new occupiers will be taking on selling our homemade sausage rolls.”
Judy said all the staff at the store had been found suitable jobs in the company or had been able to find work elsewhere. She plans to create an online virtual store that customers can browse as if they were in a real shop.
She said: “The door of the shop may be shutting but the business is still going on – everything people could get from the shop they can now get online. The people of Bury and the surrounding areas really accepted us as a family business when we took over and their support has been second to none.”
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Bid4Bury’ said: “It is a great shame that Barwells are leaving the town both as an iconic business and for the inimitable Harpers who have played main host.
“Barwells will still have a presence through their online store and we should thank them for all they have done over the years. But it is also an opportunity for a new company with something different for the town and they have chosen Bury because it is a thriving market town ready for investment.”
You can visit Barwells’ online shop at www.harpersfood.co.uk