Store dubbed Fareham's 'Aladdin's Cave' announces its closure after 12 years in town centre

A SHOP that stocked thousands of items and was dubbed Fareham’s Aladdin’s Cave is closing down after 12 years of trade in the town centre.

By Alice Morley
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 11:57 am
Roger Willis of Willows, Fareham beginning to wind down his business after occupying the shop for 12 years Picture: Alex Shute

Willows, well known for its odd bits, trinkets and funky furnishings, is set to close at the end of December as business owner Roger Willis and his wife Pamela are to retire.

Roger, 81, said it was ‘the right time to move on’ and call an end to his decades of shop experience after seeing through a difficult couple of years with lockdowns.

Roger, from Warsash, was inspired to start Willows after previously owning a carpet store called The Furniture Workshop in Southampton, where he met Pamela by selling her a new carpet.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Roger Willis of Willows, Fareham with shop assistants Elizabeth Hartley and Barry Nixon Picture: Alex Shute

The couple decided to set up business in Fareham after seeing a growing trend in homeware items.

Roger said: ‘Over the years we’ve only had a few awkward customers, I would describe these past years as smoothly gone by, I am going to miss the simple things like going to trade shows and seeing my purchases sell quickly, but it's the right time to move on now.’

Read More

Read More
Gift wrapping, good chat and friendly service - village shop Hearts and Hugs in ...

Willows is in a historic building in the centre of Fareham’s West Street. Roger said he believed the building is going to be sold and made into accommodation.

Roger Willis of Willows Picture: Alex Shute

Roger also said that the pandemic has been tough for the business.

Roger said: ‘I want to thank the landlord David and his wife Allison who have been a great help and very understanding during Covid.

‘However I am looking forward to taking some time off, relaxing and enjoying the local ambiance.’

Roger put his business success and longevity down to his wife’s good taste and his carefully chosen suppliers.

Willows in West Street, Fareham

He restricted his suppliers to six trusted manufacturers and is confident he made the right choices.

The independent businesses’ unique and extraordinary decor is down to Pamela, Roger said.

He said: ‘I’ve always been surprised at how quickly three-piece furniture suites sell, my only regret is not selling half a dozen in a week because they make the most profit.

Willows in West Street, Fareham

‘But the biggest challenge to keeping the business running was choosing the manufacturers, but we must have done something right to have been going this long.

‘I want to thank my wife for being very supportive. She chooses the fabric, colours and store design and I want to thank all the staff.’

Roger said his last message before hanging up the keys is for people to come in and visit.

He is holding a large closing down sale with everything reduced.

He said: ‘I invite people to come in, they might find themselves a bargain.’

Willows in West Street, Fareham