Fattorinis Harrogate: One of Yorkshire's oldest shops to reopen as staff step in to save name

One of Yorkshire's oldest shops, which first opened its doors in Victorian times, has been saved from closure and is about to reopen this weekend - with a change of name and plenty of champagne.

When it was announced last November that A. Fattorini in Harrogate was to close after 191 years to allow the head of the renowned family-run jewellers to retire, there was shock not just from its loyal customers but the town itself.

Having been launched in 1831, Queen Victoria was just 12-years-old, the highly-regarded retail name appeared to have reached the end of the line - despite its continuing popularity and success.

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After failing to find someone in the family to take over Anthony Tindall announced the shop's final farewell with a grand closing down sale of all its stock.

Flashback to the late 1970s and Fattorini's location on Parliament Street in Harrogate.Flashback to the late 1970s and Fattorini's location on Parliament Street in Harrogate.
Flashback to the late 1970s and Fattorini's location on Parliament Street in Harrogate.

But the good news a new team has stepped in to run the shop and customers will be please to discover it's very much like the old team.

The new director Wayne Beales had been the store's manager for 20 years and he's managed to keep many of the loyal staff.

But, when the famous store, which began its life in 1831 as the Oriental Lounge, reopens this Saturday on Parliament Street, it will have a different name, albeit by just two letters.

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Mr Beales said: "Because people know us as Fattorinis, we thought it was time to make that our name officially, rather than sticking to A Fattorini.

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"One thing that inspired me to take on the business was the feedback we had from customers during our grand closure sale. A lot of people were genuinely devastated by the news.

"I'd been thinking for some time how to take the business forward. We're an iconic business and we will keep our DNA but I think it's important to make subtle changes without throwing the baby out with the bath water."

Fattorinis, as it is now known, has been undergoing a light makeover with Wayne and the staff getting their hands into a refurbishment in the shop's showroom with a brand new window display part of the freshen-up.

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Because of the success of the closing down sale, Wayne and his team have also been restocking with new ranges. The new-look Fattorinis will retain its high standards in jewellery and watches.

Wayne, who had 20 years' experience at Goldsmiths Jewellers before joining Fattorinis, says there will be a few innovations to suit customers' need in the 21st century, including luxury pre-owned watch brands and, perhaps, the addition of a wedding jewellery boutique.

When A Fattorini jewellers first opened its shop in Harrogate in 1831 the second Earl Grey was Prime Minister of Great Britain and the US president was Andrew Jackson at a time when the USA consisted of only 24 states.

With that sort of pedigree, this preeminent Harrogate and British brand, which grew from humble roots when Anthony Tindall's great, great grandfather Antonio moved to Yorkshire from Lake Como in Italy after the Battle of Waterloo, there is no intention to do anything too radical or revolutionary.

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Mr Beales said: "We will be retaining our ethos of high standards and maintaining our core values. I've been here so long with my fantastic staff and I believe I have a good insight into the business.

"Fattorinis' integrity has done so well for nearly 200 years not just for our business but for Harrogate itself. We want to retain our status and our role in the town's business community.

"We are proud to still be independent and proud still to be here."