Historic factory shop to closehttp://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk/news/4230419.Historic_factory_shop_to_close/
Stourbridge News by Bev Holder
WORDSLEY’S historic Stuart Crystal factory shop is shutting its doors for the last time this week (Thursday March 26) - with nine long-serving staff members set to lose their jobs.
The shop on the Red House Glass Cone site has been trading for 60 years - attracting custom from glass collectors across the country and overseas. But the demise of the Waterford Wedgwood Group - which owned the shop and which is now in administration - has sounded the death knell for the popular outlet.
New York based private equity company KPS Capital Partners LP has bought certain UK and Irish assets belonging to the renowned crystal and china company. But the deal has not saved the Wordsley factory shop, which attracts hundreds of visitors a week and which still houses some of the famous glass tableware manufactured - but delivered too late - to grace the tables on doomed White Star Line steamship the Titanic.
Manager Jann Richards - who has worked at the store for a decade - described the closure shock as “heartbreaking”. She told the News: “People are going to be absolutely stunned because it’s been here so long. I don’t think people will comprehend what’s happened - it’s been everybody’s local glass shop and it’s the last of this size in the area. “We really thought they would keep the shop. It’s been here for 60 years and we were a reasonably successful business considering the economic climate. “Since Christmas we’ve been holding our own.”
She said staff members facing the dole queue had been associated with the glass industry for much of their lives; with longest-serving worker Ros Rigby notching up 40 years at the historic site and glass engraver Alan Crannage having perfected his trade for the last 30 years.
The shop closure will not affect the Dudley Council-run museum and cone, which are rented under a 99-year-lease agreement.