End of era as clothes shop closes

Brought to you by the News Guardian.
Brought to you by the News Guardian.

A business has marked the end of an era after closing its doors for the final time.

Women’s fashion shop Gabrielle, in Park View, Whitley Bay, closed down after owner Karen Johnston decided to retire.

She had run the business with her husband Liddell until he died last November.

Liddell and his sister Thelma had opened their first women’s clothes shop 266 in 1966 before Karen joined in 1971 when she married Liddell.

They then changed the name to Clothesline and opened Gabrielle – which moved from Whitley Road to Park View in 1992 – plus Fiona McDonald and Reflection, with all selling a range of women’s clothes.

Gabrielle was the last to close after Clothesline closed in 2010.

Karen said: “We had amazing customers and staff over the years. We made a lot of friends. It is the end of an era.

“I’m retiring now. I would like to have some time for me now. Everybody is upset we closed. My husband will be upset I’m closing as we were providing a service to Whitley Bay, that was his view.”

Finishing touches are being made to the former Gabrielle shop as it is turned into a micropub, due to open this weekend.

Karen added: “I wish Tony and Julie Patton all the best with their new venture, The Dog & Rabbit. I think it will be very interesting.”

She added: “There were 12 to 15 fashion shops in Whitley Bay in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Liddell put ourselves together and organised it as Fashion Whitley Bay.

“We would hold a fashion show in Newcastle to help show off our wares and attract people to the town.

“We worked together and never stepped on each other’s toes.”