As her namesake left our TV screens this week, Barnums owner Pat Butcher also said farewell after 30 years in the town. She and husband Mike packed up at the William Street school outfitters for the last time, handing over the reins to Mark Winham and Helen Bennett.
It brings to an end almost 30 years of the couple providing uniforms for children in Herne Bay and the surrounding towns. Pat said:
“We’ve been working together with Mark and Helen for the last nine months, so it’s kind of been a slow goodbye. The saddest thing is that when I walked through the door I was 27 and when I walked out I was 57. Where’s that time gone? We’re just going to take a breather for a month or so now. With Christmas and New Year being so busy, we haven’t really had time to get ourselves together.”
Dad-of-two Mark, who runs C&R Printers and Bay Embroidery, decided to take over the shop after doing its printing for 19 years. He said:
“When Pat and Mike said they were retiring and going to close the shop we asked to take it over. We would have lost 50% of our work otherwise. It was a big move for us and it took about two months for us to make up our minds, but it seemed a shame to let an institution like Barnums shut. We’re also retaining the existing staff, so it’s nice that no one loses their job.”
Mike, 45, and Helen, 36, will cater for junior schools in the area, as well as Chaucer Technology, Simon Langton Girls and Queen Elizabeth in Faversham. They hope to increase the shop’s portfolio and also have the added bonus of their very own embroidery machine. Mike said:
“We have all the logos for schools in Herne Bay, Canterbury and Whitstable, so if someone needs a badge on a sweater or polo shirt we can do it. It’s something they couldn’t offer before.”
For more information about Barnums visit www.barnums-schoolwear.co.uk or call 01227 365220.
kentonline 5th Jan 2012