Published: 14:49, 14 May 2003
ONE of Deal High Street's biggest stores is about to close, opening the opportunity of a big change in the town centre.
Brown and Phillips is shutting its three-storey prime site, which opened before the Second World War.
"It is the end of an era," said managing director Paul Phillips.
The lease on the building between Park Street and King Street ends on June 28 and six staff have been made redundant.
Other employees will move into the remaining Brown and Phillips' store in the precinct, which is continuing to trade.
Mr Phillips said the firm had renewed the lease three times since it opened in 1938 but he turned down the opportunity to take it on for another 20 years.
"I wish I was starting in business all over again, but I am 66 now and as a family we want to ease up a bit and not take on another commitment."
He said a trust owns the lease, but the company owns the other Brown and Phillips building. It will continue to sell household furnishings and a refit is being planned.
Deal and Walmer Chamber of Commerce chairman Alan Spiers said he would be campaigning for the empty store to be kept as retail.
"To stay a shop, rather than a restaurant, would be of more commercial benefit to the town.
"It will be sad to see this Brown and Phillips go as it has been a feature of Deal for a long, long time.
"But I don't think it will be empty for long. It will be taken up very, very quickly."