Business as usual

By Matthew McKew

Monday, December 2, 2013


Business as usual

Heather and Andrew Cooke, of F. Robert Frise, in their temporary shop in their car port. Picture by Robin Crossley.

THE determination to keep on trading has seen a long-established Isle of Wight jewellers move into a car port after a subsiding wall forced their shop to close.

The building housing F. Robert Frise, a watchmaker and jewellers, dates back to 1893 and had a number of ageing wooden lintels.

In August, the lintel above the shop window broke and left the front wall unstable.

Owners, Heather Cooke and her son, Andrew, immediately shored up the store with scaffolding.

Further repair work was postponed after a dispute with the insurance company.

On November 9, the contractors finally moved in to completely rebuild the front of the building.

Heather said: "They are having to build it up again, brick by brick, and it is starting to get there. But, we cannot access the shop by the front door, because it is completely blocked off by scaffolding."

With Christmas fast approaching and the shop incarcerated by wood and metal, Heather and her son converted their car port into a temporary store.

Heather said: "We have a big banner up saying Business as Usual and we work between the shop and the car port, using a walkie talkie to communicate."

The makeshift shop has been carefully set up, with a heater to keep customers warm and CCTV to keep things in order.

Frise jewellers

The Freshwater building covered in scaffolding.

The shop was first opened in 1952 by Heather’s father and she is keen to keep tradition going.

She said: "We have always had a Christmas tree in the first-floor window and it has gone up again this year.

"We are trying to show some true British grit at an important time of year for us."

Heather believes the novelty of the shop has proved very attractive to customers, with some saying they will publicise the move on Facebook.



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by alan naylor

3rd December 2013, at 01:17:37

I urge all to patronise this establishment over the festive season this is the spirit that got us all through thr war and it does look a lot like Coventry after the bliz Well done

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by Steve Smith

2nd December 2013, at 12:37:21

As the building with scaffolding is in Freshwater, I would assume the business is there too.

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by Julian Fry

2nd December 2013, at 12:24:41

Intersting, but where is it? Brading, Freeshwater - or Sandown?

The article doesn't say. Unless I missed it.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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