Brightonians saddened by the fate of Pullingers, a shoe shop that had been a staple of the North Laine for more than 30 years before having to close it’s doors earlier this year, have reason to be cheerful with news that the well-heeled store will remain part of the sole of Brighton.
Tracey Cullen, a Brighton local who had been working part-time in the store before it closed in July decided that it was down to her to save the shop and bring new polish onto the worn old leather.
Ms Cullen, of Patcham, said : “When it was announced Pullingers was closing down, we started to get visitors who had taken day trips just to tell us they had bought their first ever pair of shoes here all that time ago. It’s such an institution, it seemed a crime to let it go.”
Alongside her family, this Brighton local made a proposition to the owner to revamp the shop and run it anew, which he accepted.
Adamant that she didn’t want to give the old owners the boot, Ms Cullen said “We really wanted them to stay involved – they’ve been doing it for years and didn’t want to close it down. But now we have two families involved in the say of the business.”
Pullingers are due to relaunch as part of the North Laine Late Night Shopping event, on December 8, with both Ms Cullen’s and Mr Windham’s children getting stuck in and pulling up their boot straps to ensure the night is a success.
The shop will hark back to its origins, using handwritten receipts, paper bags and an old fashioned personalised service – including traditional shoe measuring techniques, to appeal to the nostalgic atmosphere that Brighton has become known for. Its original sign will also be given a paint job – turning its green frontage to blue.
Ms Cullen also wanted to stick to Pullingers tradition and hero British made stock, but has had to branch out to Italian and German leather shoe brands.
She said: “We wanted to strip it back to its original core values – the interiors will make everything about the shoe, but the service will truly make everything about the customer.”
Pullingers began as a shoe shop in George Street, Kemp Town, which has stood in the same spot for 102 years and now operates as a shoe repair shop, and Ms Cullen still recommends that any shoe care should be done at the George Street store due to the long held ties between both shops.
The reopening Bond Street store will offer two part-time roles and hopes to take on apprentices who wish to learn about the manufacturing, care and sale of leather shoes.