Great Dunmow shop owner closes her door for the last time, taking early retirement

Angela Barker who ran Dunmow shop Angela's Ladies Wear is retiring. Picture: Barker family

Angela Barker who ran Dunmow shop Angela's Ladies Wear is retiring. Picture: Barker family - Credit: Angela Barker

A Great Dunmow shop owner says she is going to miss the conversations with her loyal customers who have become friends, as she shut her shop door for the last time.

Angela Barker has been running Angela’s Ladies Wear on Market Place for 18 years.

But previous to running the store, she ran a shoe shop and a dry cleaners, so has spent many years in customer facing roles.

Mrs Barker is taking early retirement, having decided in October. The store’s last day was Saturday (June 20).

Speaking to the Broadcast, Mrs Barker said she had enjoyed many aspects of the store which sold everyday wear, accessories and handbags including her “lovely” assistant Anita Manning and decorating the display windows, but would not miss the paperwork or worrying about the store alarm!

“It was about making people feel at ease. I never pressured. I said ‘try it on and I will give you an honest opinion’.”

Mrs Barker said she was always delighted when she saw customers wearing their purchases, and was so happy she had returning customers.

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People would pop in to just say hello. And people would sometimes come in to buy a treat, especially if they had been to dentist for their six monthly check-up.

Mrs Barker said her regulars also helped her. “There have been tough times but the people who know me have boosted me up and supported me. Without having the shop I would have found it even tougher.”

People came from far and wide including abroad.

Her daughter-in-law Katy Barker-Noble, married to Mrs Barker’s son Christopher, met an American family on a flight from Nairobi to the UK. They was so interested they came to say hello.

Mrs Barker also has a daughter Katie Hollins, and three grandchildren.

Mrs Barker was originally a nursery nurse. Her husband Cliff’s parents Sylvia and John Barker had a fabric shop called So & Sew at 8 Market Place. In the 1980s they sold the fabric shop business and opened a dry cleaners, and she joined the business alongside her husband.

In 1986 they expanded to 6B Market Place as a shoe repair and leather goods store, before becoming a shoe shop in 1993. Her in-laws retired in 2000 and Mrs Barker opened the ladieswear shop in 2002. Her husband Cliff retired in 2015.