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Popular fashion boutique Angelia closes its doors after 32 years

For 32 years, thousands of customers have walked through the doors of popular independent fashion boutique, Angelia, located in Freshney Place.

Popular fashion boutique Angelia closes its doors after 32 years

But owner, Angela Chase, 56, has now called time on her long-standing business and the doors have been closed for good so that she can enjoy her retirement.

"Working for yourself is hard," Angela said.

"There's been so many things I've wanted to do over the years but have never been able to because I have always been working.

"Now I have that time, I can do the things I've missed out on for years. I've wanted to go to Wimbledon and the Chelsea Flower Show but it has been difficult to get there with me always working."

The shop was launched in Grimsby's Regent Arcade in 1984 before moving into the town's main shopping centre in 1992.

Angela, who lives in Ashby-cum-Fenby with her husband Graham and daughter Isabella, followed in the retailing footsteps of her father, John Smith, who owned A&J Smith Bakers and Confectioners, in Oxford Street, Cleethorpes.

"I'd grown up in an environment that was all about retail so that definitely played a part in me deciding to work for myself," Angela said.

"I suppose I'd always wanted to work for myself really and, like a lot of ladies, I like shoes, so decided to open a shoe store.

"It wasn't until a number of years later that I introduced clothes into the shop but it always really remained predominantly a shoe store.

"My customers came to the store mainly for the shoes, so it was a bonus for them when we started selling clothes. We just wanted to add a little bit of variety. I've always been interested in fashion and when you run a business that you're interested in, it makes it a lot easier."

Angela spoke of the biggest trends that entered her shop over the years, including metallics and faux fur. "I can remember when we first moved, we had some metallic shoes arrive in the shop," she said.

"The larger chains for some reason did not sell them but they were a huge hit.

"We hit a niche market there. They were very popular.

"We also had some boots with a fur trim that came in and they were also really popular. I'm sure there are more but those two stand out.

"More recently, we had hundreds of linen dresses that flew off the rails - they were a huge success."

Over the years, Angela became friends with her customers, who she described as "lovely regulars."

She said: "I have developed friendships with people over the years and we have had some lovely regular customers. We've had some lovely staff as well. When you're a small business, it is so important to to get along with your staff and we all did.

"When I told them I was retiring, they were sad but they were so nice about it and said how people would miss me and the business."

The business was a three generation family effort with Angela's mother, now 82, helping for a few hours every Tuesday and her daughter Isabella was a Saturday girl who also modelled the clothes to promote them on social media, until she went off to university in Scotland in September last year.

Angela said: "I normally had ten year leases but I'd started thinking about retiring and my last lease was just five years. When you have a business for 32 years it isn't just a job, it becomes a way of life.

"I wanted to be a bit more free and now I can be. With my daughter being at uni in Scotland, I can now go and see her, which I have done recently.

"Whenever she was off in the school holidays, I never saw her much because I was always at work. But it's all going to be different now. I love gardening. My husband Graham, who is a painter and decorator by trade and also a landlord, usually does the gardening but now I can help him with it.

"I've always done a bit of running now and again but I've now joined the Wolds Vets Running Club because I have the time to do so. I just want to start doing a bit more stuff outside."

Angela says her retirement was a "gradual process" as she had made her mind up way ahead of the shop closure, which happened a month ago before she went on holiday. "It was a sense of freedom for me but I have so many memories to look back on," she said.

"I finished on the Friday and on the Saturday we went skiing so there was not a lot of time to think about it. It was just a case of clearing everything out, which was time consuming.

"I have had some lovely comments on Facebook but people have they said can't blame me for retiring. I feel a lot freer and I can go on holidays, visit my daughter, do the gardening and go for lunch with friends - all the things I've not really had time to do.

"Although my husband hasn't retired, he is going to take more time off work and we aim to get a camper van in a few years time and travel around in that.

"It's surprising how quickly you adjust to being retired. It's been nearly four weeks now and I've been out and about and I am looking forward to the summer. My daughter is home from university in May so I'll be able to spend more time with her.

"I've always had to juggle things and now I don't have to. I will miss all of the customers though and I'll miss going to London and picking out the fashions that we had in stock - especially choosing the summer sandals.

"I really would like to thank my customers for their support over their work. Small businesses rely on their regular customers and mine have been brilliant."

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