Former lecturer snaps up historic store

A YORKSHIRE rope manufacturer and retailer, which was set up more than 100 years ago, has been taken over by a former economics lecturer with a passion for historic trades.

George Woodall & Sons, in Malton, which started life as a rope-making business in 1884, was sold after the retirement of John Woodall, great-grandson of the founder, and his wife Hilary. The new owner is Winston Kobylka, a former economics lecturer and professional purchaser who has lived in the town for four years.

He hopes to achieve turnover upwards of 100,000 next year. The store, which has four staff, has a manufacturing space upstairs, producing materials including canvas and tarpaulin and carrying out repairs to tents and sails. Downstairs it sells rope, net, twine, ferret muzzels and some camping gear.

Mr Kobylka said: "I was drawn to the business by its situation in an historic building and by its potential: it has a very broad and unusual product range and a wide variety of customers.

"I felt something about the shop with its nooks and crannies and I was immediately comfortable. I said I was going to buy some thing and I bought the shop.

"I'm looking forward to developing all aspects of the business whilst retaining its unique character in a very special market town."

The deal, which was agreed in May and confirmed last month, was done with the help of a commercial and residential property firm in Malton.

Mr Woodall said: "With the help of the Fitzwilliam Estate we launched a nationwide search to find a successor only to find the new buyer almost on our doorstep.

"We're delighted that Mr Kobylka will carry on the business and develop it."