Hayling family firm all set for ‘dignified exit’ as it shuts after 80 years

Pullingers in Hayling Island will be closing soon after 80 years of business. Seated is co-owner Nick Danby, left, and chief executive Ian Currie surrounded by, from left, Wendy Bailey, Mike Kruppa, Barbara Smith, Fred Passingham, Jane Nelson, Steve Beale, Suzanne Trapmore. Picture: Paul Jacobs (15048-4)
Pullingers in Hayling Island will be closing soon after 80 years of business. Seated is co-owner Nick Danby, left, and chief executive Ian Currie surrounded by, from left, Wendy Bailey, Mike Kruppa, Barbara Smith, Fred Passingham, Jane Nelson, Steve Beale, Suzanne Trapmore. Picture: Paul Jacobs (15048-4)
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A BASTION of quality and excellent customer service is to close after 80 years.

Pullingers Interiors, in Elm Grove, Hayling, will close its doors in March having been run by the Danby family for eight decades.

The children of owners Nick Danby and Joanna Blunden do not want to take the business on.

Mr Danby, 71, said: ‘The children have worked here for holiday jobs over the years but they have other careers and it became apparent they would not be able to take it on.

‘I’m very emotional about it. It’s been all my life and was my father Ned’s, who founded the business, so it’s a sad time.

‘I don’t think it would have been possible to sell the business. We wouldn’t want anyone else running it. We wanted to have a dignified exit.

‘I must pay tribute to our wonderful, hard-working staff who have made this business what it is.’

At one time there were branches in Petersfield, Bishop’s Waltham, Hamble and Wandsworth, South London.

The bespoke furniture was made on Hayling and became a byword for quality.

Each year the firm employed trainees from local schools.

Some members of staff joined as trainees and stayed until they reached retirement age.

Mr Danby added: ‘I think it’s fair to say Pullingers has made a valued contribution to Hayling’s welfare over the decades.

‘We have provided hundreds of jobs to local residents and contributed to the local economy.

‘I would like to thank all our customers for shopping with us.

‘We have been lucky to serve so many wonderful and appreciative people.’

Generations of families have been buying their sofas, dining tables and soft furnishings from Pullingers.

Ian Currie has been the chief executive of the company since 1989. He, along with several other members of staff, will retire once the shop closes.

He said of his time at Pullingers, ‘It’s been absolutely great fun.

‘They (the Danby family) are a great bunch of people to work for.

‘Pullingers has always been known for its quality and service. We see the same families coming back again and again.

‘And I’ve not had a customer complaint for four years.

‘How many CEOs can say that?’

Long-time customer Margaret Stone, from Selsmore Road, said: ‘I will be very sad to see them go.’