Eleventh hour deal saves Diss store

A DIY job by its managing director has safeguarded the future of the closure-threatened Godfrey DIY store in Diss.

For Barry Godfrey formed another company, Harvey House Retail, especially to buy the store, just off Victoria Road, and one in Stowmarket, out of liquidation.

The deal was clinched with only hours to spare.

He plans to re-employ 15 of his original staff, out of 14 at Diss and 11 in Stowmarket, but the future of the Norwich store looks less bright.

Six of the Diss staff have been given jobs by the new company, others have taken redundancy, while there could be more work available if it gets busy in the future, Mr Godfrey told the Diss Express.

The current premises will be rebranded, occupy a smaller space and a decision still has to be made whether it will take the Harvey House Retail name or not.

“We look forward to the future with our loyal customers and the staff we have retained,” said Mr Godfrey.

And the buyout will spark major bargain-hunting from the people of Diss and surrounding area, because it will result in a massive clearance liquidation sale in the coming weeks, before the store can be restocked.

Already reductions of about 20 per cent are being offered and this is expected to continue for a number of weeks.

Mr Godfrey said: “We have had many touching letters from customers and they have been delighted that we can continue to operatein Diss and Stowmarket.”

Godfrey first began trading in Diss in 1993.

Insolvency specialist McTear Williams & Wood has been handling the sale of the company and Mr Godfrey used his Harvey House Retail operation to buy the Diss and Stowmarket home, garden and leisure stores during a creditors’ meeting last week.

Half a dozen companies had shown an interest at one stage.

To preserve value in the company there was a race against the clock as a buyer for the two stores had to be found before a new property rental agreement began last Friday.

And this was achieved with only eight hours to spare.

Godfrey DIY began life in Norwich about 30 years ago.

A number of the Diss staff have been with Godfrey since that time and even from when it traded at its first site.

The family-run business, with Bill Godfrey as chairman and Barry as managing director, celebrated its 25th anniversary in April 2008.