18 July 2024, 08:47
By Furniture News Mar 19, 2024

The Bed Factory to close

Suffolk retailer Barnes of Ipswich, more commonly known now as The Bed Factory, is shutting its doors at the end of April with the loss of 11 members of staff, after operating for nearly 100 years.

Current MD Chloe Last, the fourth generation of the Barnes family, has decided to close the family business and pursue a career in a different direction.

She says the decision “has not been taken lightly”, adding: “Retail has changed a lot over the years, especially with the rise of internet shopping. So with retail in decline, now is the perfect time for the company to come to the end of its era.”

All existing orders will be fulfilled and deliveries are still taking place as normal, and the showroom in Bermuda Road, on the Ransomes Industrial Estate in Ipswich, is still open, taking orders to clear all remaining stock by the end of April.

Barnes of Ipswich started trading in 1927 and became an incorporated company in 1939. It had premises in Tower Street which was mainly used for storage, as Chloe’s great granddad George Barnes moved to live above Upper Orwell Street when the shop opened there.

The company originally sold corsets, stockings, lingerie and linoleum. Gradually over the years, floorcoverings, drapery and beds became the main items sold, and the previous lines dropped.

A few years after moving from Upper Orwell Street to a building near Tower Ramparts the company changed its main lines again, dropping the drapery and manufacturing its own beds from a site on the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, under the name Chloanne. These beds were only available to trade accounts, and were also sold from the building near Tower Ramparts.

The company was not at Hadleigh Road for long, and moved to Bermuda Road in March 1995, then opened the doors to the general public. This is when The Bed Factory was born.

The carpet side of the company continued for over 20 years in the showroom at Bermuda Road. That department closed a few years ago.

Chloe concludes: “Thank you to all of our customers over the past 80-plus years for supporting a local, independent, family-run company.

“I would also like to publicly thank all of the current employees for the continued support and understanding since the passing of my father, Peter Barnes – I could not have managed without them.”

Pictured: The Bed Factory in Bermuda Road, courtesy David Mortimer Drone Photography

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