FOR 100 years the Eyres furniture store on Park Street has been a Worksop town centre landmark.
Through two world wars, in boom times and in recession, it has stood proud, a symbol of quality in an ever-changing retail landscape.
While the rest of Worksop has changed over the decades - and continues to change with work now started on the new cinema right across the road from Eyres - the furniture stalwarts’ three-storey building has retained an air of solid reliability.
Eyres first moved into Worksop in 1899 when the company took the ground floor of a building on Newcastle Avenue.
All went well until 18th July 1911 when bank manager’s wife Mrs Hayes couldn’t sleep and went to look out of her bedroom window at 3.10am.
She saw flames flickering behind one of the rear windows at Eyres and raised the alarm.
Despite the best efforts of the fire brigade the building could not be saved and by dawn only the walls remained. The building was completely gutted and all of its contents were destroyed.
But undeterred the owners of Eyres were not going to be beaten.
The fire happened on a Tuesday and by the following Saturday the company had re-opened for business with a fully stocked new shop on the Park Street and Westgate corner, where it still remains a century later.
The business was founded by Isaac Eyres but is now owned by the Shuker family, who took over in 1984.
The building itself was bought in July 1991.
Partner Richard Shuker said: “We will be putting on special offers for our 100th birthday for a week from 23rd September, offering some unbelievable deals such as 30 per cent off G-Plan and Parker Knoll furniture.”
He puts Eyres’ continuing success in the current tough economic climate down to a solid reputation and customer loyalty.
He said: “We have got a good reputation and we have been here a long time and our customers appreciate that.”
He also dispels any suggestion that independents have higher prices than chain stores.
“We belong to the Associated Independent Stores furniture buying group which gives us greater buying power and allows us to be competitive on price. You have to be in this day and age.”
Sales manager Ian Jordan said: “Eyres is part of Worksop history and has always been part of the Bridge Street shopping scene.”
“Now that the cinema is being built across the road we will be at the heart of things. We’re part of the future of Bridge Street, it will be like Worksop’s answer to the West End.”
Over the years Eyres has branched into other departments, such as selling recorded music.
There is a framed HMV record sleeve on the wall of the ground floor as a reminder of this.
There is a also a sepia photo of an Eyres horse and cart delivery team, which could date back 100 years.
An advert for the Eyres sale in the Worksop Guardian of 8th July 1966 showed a three piece suite in green could be bought for £89 and 15 shillings, while a 3ft divan bed was £14 and 14 shillings.
A bedroom suite would set you back £58 and 15 shillings.
Mr Jordan said: “In the past we’ve sold other things like prams, TVs, radios and records, but we’ve always kept that core market of furniture.”
“We have three floors and sell all kinds of furniture, living room, dining room, bedroom.”
Mr Jordan’s own family have been loyal Eyres customers over the decades.
He said: “I remember my grandma having Eyres furniture in her front parlour. She lived on Welbeck Street and no one was allowed in that front parlour.”
“We get a lot of people in who say their family has always shopped here, there is a lot of customer loyalty.”
The store also has its own coffee shop and its own resident ghost.
“She is called Annie and she walks around on the first floor with a silver tray,” said Mr Jordan. “People have felt her presence.”
“I was serving a lady and gent once and they stopped in the area where Annie is supposed to be and the lady said she could feel there was somebody who walked around there.”
Mr Shuker said customers liked the personal service they get from Eyres and also the fact that if there is a problem they know they can come back and talk to us.”
“We also have the product knowledge and good staff, some of them have been with us for 25 years.”
Eyres will be open until 9pm tonight (Friday), offering customers the chance to join in the celebration with a buffet and wine.
Director Paul Shuker said: “I think the fact we’re still here after 100 years is something to do with us being a family firm. People trust us and keep coming back.”