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Rutland's only department store Ford's of Oakham will close this summer

Rutland will lose its only department store as the owners have made the tough decision to close this summer.

Ford's of Oakham opened in 1877 but Richard and Juliana White have decided it's time to say goodbye to the retail side of the business.

The shop will close in August to allow the Manton couple to focus on the funeral directing service which runs from the same premises in Church Street.

Juliana White announced the closure of Fords of Oakham (11739237)
Juliana White announced the closure of Fords of Oakham (11739237)

Juliana will also spend more time with their children Rupert, four, and George, three.

Richard said: “We know people will be sad to see Ford’s close but the family business will still be very much at the heart of the county and we will continue to serve as independent funeral directors, as we have done for generations.”

Since it opened Ford's has been a cabinet maker, upholsterer, removals firm, funeral directors and department store.

Juliana said it is "heartbreaking" to close after being part of Rutland's retail scene for so long.

She said: "We've thought about it before but it never felt like the right time, but with the way things are going economically and in the town, we decided to do it now.

"Oakham is definitely quieter now with less footfall."

The shop will close on August 31 when 15 staff will be made redundant.

Ford's of Oakham (11782715)
Ford's of Oakham (11782715)

Juliana said: "Richard is exceptionally good at the funeral side of things so we really want to focus on that to provide an exceptional service to people in their time of need."

An area at the front of the building is being converted to an office and the rest of the building will be rented out.

Juliana added: "Being such a big part of the community is a privilege. People know the building, the shop and the family and it's something very special to be part of that. It's quite a legacy we will leave behind."

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