A Tale of 2 Shops
End clothing has decided to close it shops on High Bridge and open a larger store on Grainger Street, while this is great news for the retail market in Newcastle, the new shop lacks the cosiness of their old smaller outlets. I am not sure if this is a change for the better, however, this is probably the price you pay when you become successful. Its move to bigger and better things reminded me of a long gone shop that also went on to bigger things. In 1975 I walked into a little clothes shop on Shakespeare Street in Newcastle called Ricci, it was a pearl of a shop and over time posed a serious challenge to Marcus Price, which at that time was the leading menswear shop in the city. Ricci stocked loads of French and Italian labels as well as some good up and coming young British brands. It was new and fresh and quickly became a big hit with the frozen northerners, no visit to the Geordie capital on a Saturday morning was complete without a trip to this shop. As its popularity increased Ricci’s very clever owner Phil Walton, opened a larger shop on Hood Street as well as an excellent shoe shop on Grey Street, business boomed and throughout the eighties the shop went from strength to strength, Walton, as always trying to keep ahead of the game, started to develop his McKenzie range of clothing, this led to him closing his shoe shop and he changing the name of the other shop from Ricci to McKenzie. Although still successful, Walton eventually decided to close the shop and sell his products mainly through sportswear shops such as JD Sports. Since then the entrepreneurial Mr Walton has went on to become a highly successful businessman and a director of several companies. So why am I telling this tale, well, through the eighties Newcastle had loads of good small independent clothes shops, which, slowly one by one they have nearly all disappeared (apart from Leaf Clothing on Pilgrim Street and Union Clothing on High Bridge which has seen them all off and are both still doing well as I write this blog). In End Clothing we have a great independent shop that is quite rightly up there with the best in the country, let’s just hope it doesn’t lose that attention to detail that the smaller shops had and which is what I so crave. The guys in Ricci were, for the north-east ahead of their time and were seriously cool, I cannot turn back the clock, but boy do I miss that shop, so let’s just hope that End’s new store is a success, but manages to maintain the old stores charm.