BACK in charge! David and Caroline Whittle are back at the helm of Huddersfield town centre fashion store Peter's.
They have struck a deal with an unnamed partner to buy the business out of administration. Now they plan a fresh start for one of Huddersfield's most famous stores.
They have pledged to honour gift vouchers bought by customers before the business went into administration last February.
And they have appealed to Huddersfield people to tell them what they want to see on the shelves and rails in the "new" Peter's store.
Mr Whittle said: "It has been a rollercoaster ride these past four months. We have been up and down and the deal has been on and off.
"It was not just a case of buying the business out of administration - that was agreed some time ago. It was also a matter of securing the lease on the property, which we finally achieved on Monday night.
"We believe this is one of the best retail sites in Huddersfield - and there would be no point in buying the business if the landlord would not let us have the lease."
Mr Whittle said the couple had been joined in the new company by a third partner with vast experience in retailing.
The Leeds-based partner, who has not been named, is providing funds to re-finance the business, improve the store and attract new concessions.
Mr Whittle said the first step would be to clear stock bought by the administrators while they were running things and re-stock the store for a summer sale offering customers "quality merchandise at fantastic prices".
In the long-term, it is planned to bring in new merchandise and new concessions. A specialist in retail design has been engaged to oversee store improvements.
Mr Whittle said: "We are talking to customers about what they want to see. We are interested in the views of the people of Huddersfield. We want to retain our loyal customers, but we also want to enhance the product ranges.
"We will also be delighted to honour all outstanding gift vouchers bought before the store went into administration."
Mr Whittle said the bank's shock move to call in administrators had come when the firm had worked to return to a near break-even point after two difficult trading months.
"I know that some people go into administration to bin their debts," he said. "But we didn't know we were going to be put into administration. We were fighting to keep this business alive."
Mr Whittle said trading conditions remained tough for all retailers, but added: "We have retained the staff and we now have a new partner who believes in us. We intend to make this business work."