Carpet firm closes

Long-established Norfolk carpet and furniture company CMC is closing after more than 30 years in the business, with the loss of 40 jobs.

Long-established Norfolk carpet and furniture company CMC is closing after more than 30 years in the business, with the loss of 40 jobs.

Managing director Stephen Parish, who set up the business with his father Neville in 1973, said that although the business was still very much a going concern, it was time for a change.

“The business could have easily continued but I have had enough,” he told the EDP. “It is a very hands-on job running a busy retail outlet and I thought that having done this for more than 30 years it was time to move on.”

The company was set up in Whiffler Road, Norwich, where the father and son team initially started trading as Carpet Mills Clearance.

But the family was no stranger to the carpet trade as Stephen Parish's uncle founded the Queensway name which was eventually sold to Harris.

They then moved to bigger premises across the road in Whiffler Road and opened a store at Pulham Maltings in Pulham St Mary followed by further stores in Lowestoft and Dereham.

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When they introduced furniture seven years after they were founded the name was changed to CMC.

“People came to recognise us as a local name with local advertising and local people running it,” said Mr Parish.

After his father retired in the 1980s Stephen Parish took on the running of the business with help from his brother Tony and fellow director John Crabtree.

Even though the big multiples such as Allied and Carpet Warehouse moved in 10 years ago Mr Parish insists the business has remained a strong competitor.

“There were a number of exit routes I could have taken, like selling it as a going concern, but this is the one I have gone for.

“I own three of the premises (Norwich, Pulham and Dereham) and am looking to redevelop them, possibly as residential.

“The biggest regret is that I have had to make 40 people redundant but I had a consultation with them back in February so they would have ample opportunity to find other suitable employment. A lot of staff have been with us quite a while and they have been a very important part of the business.”

Mr Parish believes the stores will be running down most of the stock within the next four weeks and will cease trading by the new year.

“We will get all the back orders done prior to Christmas - I don't want to go out under a cloud with any of our customers. They have been good to us,” he said.