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Franks for all of the memories...

PUBLISHED: 14:43 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 07 September 2010

A MUCH-LOVED independent business in Golders Green has shut up shop after almost 80 years of serving the community. Franks clothing store on Golders Green Road closed earlier this month, marking the loss of another small trader from the area

Ed Thomas

A MUCH-LOVED independent business in Golders Green has shut up shop after almost 80 years of serving the community.

Franks clothing store on Golders Green Road closed earlier this month, marking the loss of another small trader from the area.

The family business was started in 1929 by Phil and Beatrice Franks and for many generations of Golders Green women the shop was first-choice for lingerie, hosiery and swimwear.

The business was inherited by the couple's daughter Hazel and her husband Maurice Sheldon.

But now approaching their eighties themselves and feeling the pinch from a loss in trade in recent years, the Sheldons have decided to call it a day.

"My parents are approaching their twilight years and want to retire, and there has been a decline in business of late," said son Stephen Sheldon, who is also in the retail industry.

"The business is not what it once was, and the area as a whole has degenerated.

"Golders Green used to be the Bond Street of North-west London and Franks was the department store everyone used to go to.

"But it doesn't attract people to shops any more. Parking is difficult and there aren't so many retailers. It's all cafes, restaurants and financial institutions.

"It is such a shame, especially for my parents who have been here for 60 years."

Mr Sheldon said the shop would soon be leased out, but refused to say what type of business would be taking over.

Other traders share concerns that Golders Green has lost its appeal as a retail centre. "Why should anyone come here any more when they can just drive to Brent Cross and park easily?" said director of Hilton Cameras, Hussain Mohammed.

"It's an absolute shambles here, and it's only a matter of time before the street dies. There are now just cafes, food shops and charity shops. The shops we used to have just aren't here any more.

"Rents and rates are so high, and parking is a problem for customers. Independent traders just can't make ends meet any more."

One former Franks customer, who asked not to be named, said: "Whenever anyone in our family needed anything, my mother used to say 'Go to Franks!' That was before Brent Cross arrived.

"The shop had a loyal clientele of ladies, and they were lovely there. It really was an institution in Golders Green. I suppose now we'll just get another cafeteria or a mobile phone shop."

ed.thomas@hamhigh.co.uk

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