Tiny Carlisle shop revamped and relaunched

Helen Dixon
Helen Dixon

A shop which sits in the shadow of Carlisle’s landmark St Cuthbert’s Church is looking forward to a bright future after a revamp.

Plants adorn the pavement outside The Cupboard in Heads Lane which sits alongside the greenery of the churchyard giving a relaxed almost rural feel to the area.

Just a stone’s throw from the High Street stores of English Street, the quirky little shop sells everything from handmade furniture and candles to knitted pan scrubs.

It also stocks T-shirts, caps and hoodies by Red Torpedo who make official clothing for motorcycle racer and TV personality Guy Martin.

The plants on the doorstep are for sale as are an array of gifts, jewellery and scarves.

Behind the venture is Helen Dixon, 42, who together with her other half Chris Simpson used to own the nearby Old Engine House cafe in West Walls.

They ran the cafe alongside The Cupboard until last November when the couple sold the Old Engine House so Helen could concentrate on the shop.

Following a three-month closure to allow for refurbishment, The Cupboard has opened with a new lease of life.

Helen said: “Chris did all the work. He put in new floors, added a changing room, moved the counter and opened up the front with a new door.

“I had previously run it as a gift shop but we have now expanded into new lines adding the outdoor plants and casual clothing. We also have furniture for sale which is made by Chris.”

Former secretary Helen and Chris, who have two children Amy, 19 and 16-year-old Adam, live at Crofton near Thursby. It is from there that Chris, 43, runs his garden and property services firm.

The couple originally bought The Cupboard in 2013. Amy, then 16, helped out in the shop before getting part-time work at Top Shop in the city centre. She is also studying policing at the University of Cumbria.

Helen is hoping to branch out with more handmade items after enrolling on a sewing course at the Sooz in the Shed craft workshops at the Atlas Works in Denton Holme, Carlisle.

Comment on this article

Generate a new code
Comments not OK? Click here to let us know
Have you read?