A traditional DIY shop in Leeds city centre has closed down after four years of trading – but the owner’s prospects are actually on the up.
Mr Arkwright’s Tool Emporium on Boar Lane shut on Sunday.
Sister stores in Meanwood and Harrogate remain open, and through a partnership with Leeds businessman Michael Ziff, owner Clive Owen has started a franchise which could create 200 shops nationally.
The city centre store, which over the last few years has been patronised by soap stars and “hundreds” of regulars, has had to close because its lease could not be renewed.
Mr Owen, 62, from Pudsey, said: “Over the last four years we’ve had a lot of regular customers and happy, smiling faces. We’re a bit sad about it really.”
He added: “Zak Dingle from Emmerdale came in to wish us all the best. He used to buy trouser braces from us.”
Mr Arkwright’s was known for its traditional look, hand-painted signs and more than 7,000 products aimed at builders and DIY lovers.
When he opened, Mr Owen wanted to give it an old fashioned style and took inspiration from television.
The comedian Ronnie Barker played the character Albert Arkwright in Open All Hours as well as performing in the famous hardware shop ‘Four Candles’ sketch as part of the Two Ronnies.
Mr Owen said: “Everybody likes Four Candles so I thought I would open up as Arkwright’s.
“But I thought Mr Arkwright’s sounded more old-fashioned.”
It was set up in addition to the family business’s Harrogate shop, and a Meanwood store was opened when Mr Owen found out the lease was up on his city centre site because the company which held it wanted to vacate.
The first of Mr Owen and Mr Ziff’s franchised stores recently opened in Surrey.
His family business is also run by Mr Owen’s wife Stephanie, daughter Rebecca, store manager Andy Shepherd, and Elaine Hudson.
Mr Owen wished to thank all his customers for making the shop a success.