SHOPPERS spoke of their sadness as an iconic Huddersfield store shut its doors for the last time at the weekend.
Thatchers Furnishings closed on Saturday after more than 70 years in the town centre.
Twenty staff have lost their jobs after administrators failed to find a buyer for the troubled furniture store.
Enrique Balbontin, 72, was one of many town centre shoppers sad to see Thatchers close on Saturday.
Speaking outside the Dundas Street store the Fartown man said: “I had a business which went into receivership so I know that it’s not fun. Imagine what the owners are going through.
“I also feel sorry for the staff who are being made redundant.
“Today is half a funeral and half a wake.”
Mr Balbontin, who is originally from Spain but moved to Huddersfield in 1965, was sad to see a famous name going bust.
“I preferred the town centre the way it was,” he said.
“It was traditional. You had businesses that were well-established. They were reliable, they gave decent value for money and they tended to favour manufacturers from the area.”
But Mr Balbontin is not surprised to see Thatchers go bust.
“I think it’s because of the general economic crisis in Western Europe,” he said.
“Unemployment is very high so people don’t have any money and those who have a little bit are uncertain about the future so they are more careful and tend to spend money only on essential things.”
Other shoppers also spoke of their sadness after paying one last visit to Thatchers on Saturday morning.
A woman in her 70s, who declined to be named, said: “It’s sad to see Thatchers closing because it’s part of the town’s history.
“I’ve lived in Huddersfield all my life and Thatchers has always been here.
“In this day and age these things are happening all over.”
Another shopper complained that Thatchers had been too expensive – even after it announced it was closing.
The man in his 60s, who also did not want to be named, said: “I’m not surprised it’s closing, it’s always been a bit over-priced.
“Even with the sale prices you can still buy things cheaper on the internet.”
The company – which specialised in high-quality furniture, beds, curtains, clocks and rugs – was founded by former carpet fitter John Herbert Thatcher in 1940.
The firm’s first store was on Queen’s Mill Lane before moving to larger premises in Albion Street at the end of the 1940s.
Thatchers relocated to Dundas Street in the early 1960s.
Mr Thatcher’s son, Trevor, who had joined the business in 1954 as an apprentice, took over in the late 1960s and was himself succeeded as managing director by his son Darran.
The three-storey shop on Dundas Street included six showrooms and Rafters coffee shop on the top floor.