Party store struts its stuff as online boom fuels expansion
Published at 12:23, Monday, 07 January 2013
A BOOM in internet sales is driving the expansion of one of Carlisle’s best-known businesses.
Almost everyone who lives in the city has hired a costume from Struts.
The shop has been selling and hiring costumes and party gear for 27 years.
But it has outgrown its premises in Chapel Street, mainly due to soaring demand for mail order through the website www.struts.co.uk.
Owners Anthony and Jayne Ivinson leased temporary warehousing space in Brampton to increase capacity.
Now they have put in a planning application to Carlisle City Council to convert the former Roman Catholic Chapel across the road from the shop in Chapel Street.
This will serve as a new shop with warehousing attached.
Mr Ivinson said: “We have applied to see if we can get change of use and, if we can, there is a likelihood we will relocate the shop.
“We need more space. We have more lines coming through and this building is ideal.
“We didn’t want to relocate a long way away [from the shop] and this is just a stone’s throw down the road.
“It would allow us to put 12,000 products under one roof.
“If everything goes to plan, we could open the doors by early summer but there’s a lot of work to do before then.”
The need for more space is driven by online sales.
Struts took units at Townfoot Industrial Estate, Brampton, last May on a 12-month lease to provide extra storage.
Mr Ivinson said: “That was to give us breathing space. The online side is massive. It has really taken off.
“We can’t keep up with demand at the moment.
“Online has overtaken the shop in terms of the amount of business, although the shop still does really well.
“That’s why we want to bring the shop and warehousing into one building, to share staff and share the workload.”
The former chapel, which dates from 1824, has latterly been a gym. The last occupier, the Brickhouse Gym, closed in September.
In its new incarnation it will provide more than 9,400sq ft of retail and storage space.
The lean-to structure facing Chapel Street will be the shop with warehousing behind.
The shop would trade from 9am to 5.30pm Mondays to Saturdays and the warehouse between 8am and 6pm.
There would be nine full-time and nine part-time jobs.
Struts was in Dixon Street, off Corporation Road, for many years.
However, the shop was submerged in the floods of January 2005 prompting a move to Chapel Street.
The website means that Struts’ costumes are shipped all over the world.
It has customers in Australia, Japan, China and Singapore, as well as in other European countries.
The range of costumes includes film stars, pop stars, super heroes, cartoon characters, pirates, Halloween and horror, historical figures, and period costumes from the 1920s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and 1980s.
There are also uniforms, and circus, animal and military costumes.
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
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