In 1970 Sowerbutts house furnishers history reached the milestone of its Centenary year, but unfortunately one year later Harry died, leaving his widow Elizabeth and son Allan to continue the business. Due to their diligence the retail side of the business continued to expand and more showrooms were developed over the adjacent wine shop. In 1977 Allan’s eldest son Ian joined the business followed 3 years later by his brother Mark. It was at this time that the upholstery workshops to the rear of the shop at Victoria Buildings King Street were converted into more showroom space over three floors, effectively doubling the size of the display area hidden away above and behind the narrow shop frontage. Many customers are astounded how big the store is once inside as it is difficult to appreciate the size of the showrooms unless you have previously been in the store on all three levels.
Elizabeth never retired and continued to be in the shop on a daily basis until weeks before her death after a fall in 1984, in fact throughout the firm’s history no family member directly involved in the business has ever retired.
With the fifth generation in place the family looked to the future for further consolidation and joined the AIS buying group to offer customers the most competitive prices across a wide range of furniture and carpets. In 1985 to enable increased purchasing power and to offer quick delivery the business bought a nearby building for warehousing purposes and continued to expand. Despite the recession of the late 1980’s the Sowerbutts managed to survive and was well placed to take advantage of the country’s future prosperity. In the 1990’s Mark’s wife Elizabeth joined the business and all was well until 10 years later when Mark’s health began to fail and he subsequently died in 2004 aged 40 from the degenerative heart condition Cardiomyopathy.
Since Mark’s death further changes to the business have seen the cessation of flooring sales and fitting, allowing more space to be devoted to beds, upholstery and cabinet merchandise, increasing further still the ranges offered. In 2010 the business celebrated its 140th anniversary, with Allan still at the forefront after over 60 years of service, and Ian and Elizabeth committed to seeing the business evolve and adapt in an ever changing world. With a loyal team of staff and clientele we look forward to celebrating the next significant part of the company’s history which will be to celebrate the 150th Anniversary in 2020.
Why not call in to Victoria Buildings on King Street and be part of our history?