End of an era as Keeley’s closes its doors in Mansfield

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A MUCH-LOVED and respected Mansfield ladies fashion store dating back to the 1900s has closed its doors.

Keeley’s moved to Handley’s Arcade in the late 1930s from the Market Place and was taken over by twin sisters Jennifer and Susan Hexton in 1985.

The girls continued to sell quality suits, sweaters and trousers after it was passed to them by their parents in 1957.

Eddie Pratt (68), husband of Jennifer, said the store’s closure was a sad day for Mansfield but nothing lasts forever and the pair had decided to call it a day after 51 years in the business.

“When you are in a family business you rise or fall by your own efforts and I can honestly say they (the sisters) loved going to work,” said Eddie.

“They loved the people and the buying and the selling. When the store closed down the customers were all saying ‘what are we going to do?’ Because there is nothing quite like Keeley’s in Mansfield.”

Grandfather-of-one Eddie said the sisters had decided to close down after trying unsuccessfully to sell the business for the last four-five months.

“I think the situation on the high street at the moment with regard to independent traders is very difficult,” he said. “Most town and city centres have been taken over by department stores and supermarkets.

“Twenty-five to 30 years ago supermarkets were just selling groceries - they were not selling fashion.

“But people do not shop the way they used to - Keeley’s clothes were always very upmarket but it is almost disposable these days.”

What are your memories of the Keeley’s store in the Handley Arcade? Let us know below or at newsdesk@chad.co.uk