The Scarborough high street shop closing after 52 years

For over half a century, an independent name has been a proud part of Scarborough’s high street.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 10:33 am

Anthony Gordon is named not after one man but two, Anthony and Gordon Kipps, a father and son who opened their first store on Victoria Road in March 1968 before moving to the current location at the top of Westborough in 1975.

At one stage there were three Anthony Gordon shops in Scarborough – the Westborough shop, one for boys on Northway and one for 16-25 year olds on St Thomas Street – as well as stores in Whitby and Beverley.

However, Gordon Kipps has now decided to shut up shop for the final time in March of this year.

Gordon in his store. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

“When you get to a certain age you think ‘I want to retire when I’m fit and well’,” explained Gordon. “I don’t find [the shop[ tiresome but I want to spend some time with my dogs and my wife.

“I can’t just get someone to come in [and take over] because it’s my name, it’s that personal service. People come to me as a friend.”

Family business

Gordon, who turned 69 in July, has been working in menswear since he left school at the age of 15, starting out at Messengers on Eastborough.

Gordon in front of the shop. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Historically his family were furriers, his grandad and dad both worked in the trade but his dad Anthony then went out on the road as a commercial seller of menswear.

It was partly this expertise that led them to open a shop together.

Gordon said: “My dad was only 19 years older than me so we were like brothers, we had a really good relationship, you have to when you’re working 24 hours a day seven days a week together,”

After his father died, Gordon carried on with the business.

Lynn's photos in the window. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

“I felt I wanted to prove that I could do it myself, and for the memory of him,” he said.

The shop has always been about family; Gordon met his wife Lynn in the shop at Victoria Road and she came to work as a secretary in the business.

They have two sons and two grandsons.

Longevity

Gordon and Anthony outside the shop celebrating their 25th anniversary. Picture: JPI Media

When Gordon and his father started out there were 17 independent menswear shops in Scarborough. Why does he think the shop has lasted this long in the age of internet shopping?

“We’ve always offered a personal service. People become friends, there’s no pressure in the shop, they can come in for a chat,” he said. “We try to supply good quality merchandise at reasonable prices.

“As we’ve got older, the client base has got older but we try not to make maturer people look old fashioned, there’s always lots of colour in the shop.

“People have liked the products we’ve sold and the friendly atmosphere and people now are very loyal because of their age, they’re not into the internet.”

Retirement

As well as running the shop, Gordon is the chair of Scarborough Rifle Association and the Bridlington Canine Society, and has 10 golden retrievers at home.

The original shop on Victoria Road. Picture: Kipps family

He plans to spend his retirement pursuing these other interests and hopes to judge more often in dog shows, at home and abroad.

One thing is for sure, he says, he won’t spend it sitting around.

Gordon is bittersweet about the shop closing, it has been a huge part of his life.

“I’ve never found it a chore, I’ve always enjoyed it,” he explained. “I’m born and bred in Scarborough, I love the town, I feel very, very lucky to have the beautiful scenery and to have had the opportunity to be successful here.”

He added: “We’ve had a really wonderful time, I will miss the people, customers that have come for years, I’ve seen families grown up.

“People do jobs for a living, whereas for us it was a passion.”

Window dressing

Though the shop has built its name on high quality clothing, it is now not just the outfits for which Anthony Gordon is well known.

In recent years, people have been attracted to the stunning photographs displayed in the window.

The photos, which show picturesque views of Scarborough and striking shots of aircraft flying over the bays during Armed Forces Day, are all taken by Gordon’s wife Lynn.

Gordon said: “Lynn had been doing photography in an amateur way for over 40 years and set up on her own when the digital age came in.

“Having the display in the shop has proved very successful.”

Lynn will continue her photography business online when the shop closes.