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Eve & Ranshaw Ltd. in Louth, Lincolnshire was one of the oldest independent, family run department stores in the UK until it closed in February 2023, having traded continuously through ten successive reigns.
The store was established in 1781 by Adam Eve, a local farmer's son with a shrewd business acumen. He later bought The Louth Carpet & Woollen Factory Ltd., helping the town become one of only three centres in England making flat weave and reversible carpets. The shop soon became the rendezvous for the gentry of Louth and the surrounding district.
It originally traded in grocery, wool and linen goods, but expanded over the years under several owner partnerships (including that of Thomas Ranshaw who started as a 13-year old apprentice in the shop), to include high-class tailoring and fashion, and a wide range of home furnishing products and services.
Christopher Sandwith and his son, David, purchased the store in 1977 and David's son, Marcus, took the helm in 2019. The Sandwith family, having first opened their own Draper's shop in 1891 (RT Sandwith), therefore traded continuously in the town for 128 years.
The well-respected shop has been a local treasure serving the Louth community through generations. It has been the go-to retailer for customer service excellence and a wide selection of quality products and brands.
Still in its original two-storey building in the heart of the market town, the store has had some challenging years with the change in customer spending and shopping habits, Covid lockdown closures, rising business costs and the current cost of living crisis. It was therefore with a heavy heart that the decision had to be made to close it early this year.
Did you know that:
In 1871, there were sixteen assistants, apprentices and servants living above the shop
Younger employees, such as the page boy, would sleep under one of the shop counters
No assistants were allowed to go upstairs with their boots on. Slippers had to be worn, or the house boy had to run and fetch anything required
The tailoring, millinery and dressmaking department employed more than forty women
The shop used to make their own coffins and offer complete funeral services