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Brighton’s beloved hardware store and locksmith Dockerills to close after 109 years

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Brighton institution Dockerills, in Church Street, will bid farewell to shoppers at the end of September.

The store is the last Dockerills standing, though the business has been running since 1915 when Walter Dockerill opened a store in Edward Street.

The Dockerill family bought the Church Street unit in the 1970s and it has been a constant in the North Laine ever since.

The Argus: The Dockerill family own the building, called Regent House, in Church StreetThe Dockerill family own the building, called Regent House, in Church Street (Image: The Argus)

Ryan Gayler, who is married to Karen, Walter Dockerill’s granddaughter, told The Argus: “It has been really tough. We have tried to change so much and we have tried everything.

“We made drastic changes during Covid including selling the unit to Martlets next door.”

He said: “There isn’t the natural family progression anymore. Footfall is declining, people’s shopping baskets have changed and they are spending less.

“But our customer service has always won people over, our staff are very knowledgeable and we give people a traditional shopping experience you don’t get anymore.

“We always tried to keep prices fair.”

The Argus:

The family will continue to work from the office, but some of the shop floor staff have been made redundant.

Dockerills plan to rent out shop space.

READ MORE: Clothes shop to close after 128 years in Sussex town

The Argus: The Dockerills brand on the corner of Gardner Street and Church street in 1960The Dockerills brand on the corner of Gardner Street and Church street in 1960

In a statement Dockerills said: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of our Dockerills high street store at the end of September. The business has been a part of the North Laine community for over 100 years and established in Regent House, Church Street since the mid-70s.

“Since our first shop established in Edward Street in 1915, we have proudly served the local community and trade customers. We have always aimed to operate with unwavering dedication and commitment to offering quality products and excellent customer service which have stood the test of time.

“Our head office will remain in the regent house building as we will continue to operate our transitional business model. 

“We will proudly reflect on the remarkable journey that began in Edward Street 1915 and spanned the generation of Dockerills family members that have ensured the legacy continues.

“After a lot of careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to close our shop doors. With declining footfall and increasing operational overheads, the high street has changed considerably over recent years, and our business has suffered as a consequence. Unfortunately, the fifth generation could not develop a sustainable retail business model moving forward.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to our loyal customers for the incredible support given to us and we have fond memories serving both old and new friends that have visited our various shops in the North Laine over many years.

“While this chapter may be ending, the legacy of our shop will continue in the records of Brighton history and who knows it may return once these challenging and changeable times pass.

“We thank you once again for your support, and we hope to see you around the North Laine area as we continue to build on the legacy and freehold of our historical Regent House building.”

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