End of an era as Northamptonshire stationers Colemans prepare to shut up shop

The family firm was founded in Higham Ferrers in 1969, with stores across the region

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 6:10 pm

A stationery firm which has been been a mainstay of Northamptonshire High Streets is preparing to close after soaring costs and a drop in footfall meant they couldn’t continue.

It’s the end of an era after family business Colemans announced its closure today (Thursday), having been founded in Higham Ferrers in 1969.

There will be a closing down phase over the next three months at Colemans shops and the Colemans Craft Warehouse, when stock will be reduced to clear.

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Kettering's Colemans store

Colemans managing director Joey Coleman, the daughter of founder John, said: “Our wonderful business, founded by my father John Coleman in 1969 and of which we are hugely proud, has reached the end of the road.

"For some time now our business has been struggling to return to pre-Covid levels of sales. Even prior to Covid, retail as a sector, and particularly on the High Streets where we operate, was in decline.

"Then Covid came and we were forced to close all of our shops as [they were] non-essential retail – which then remained closed for seven months out of 12.

"With costs soaring and footfall dropping, our business is no longer sustainable.”

Three generations of the Coleman family - John, Joey and Tallie - outside the Oundle shop in 2020

Joey was keen to emphasise that Colemans, which has eight branches in three East Midlands counties, has not gone into liquidation.

She said they will fulfil all of the company’s obligations to its staff, suppliers and landlords.

One branch of the Coleman Group, Colemans of Oundle, will remain open where the firm also offers their picture framing and print services.

The Oundle Bookshop, which is part of the Coleman Group, will also remain open.

Colemans customers can ring them to request deliveries to other areas on 0333 600 1969 or email [email protected]

Joey added: “We will leave our High Streets with our heads held high.

“We have been in business for 53 years and have created a brand of which we can be truly proud thanks to the incredible hard work of our wonderful staff and the loyalty of our fantastic customers, whom I would like to thank sincerely.”