Suters Department Stores were a very well known local business situated in the high streets in centre of Slough and Uxbridge - very close to the Uxbridge Underground station terminus. The original family business was a drapery business in Ledbury in Herefordshire established by Philip Suter’s great grandfather. His grandfather George William Suter and uncle, Clarence Suter then established a drapery shop in High Street Slough in 1920. Like similar family retail businesses of that era they started to expand. Larger premises were acquired and existing businesses in Uxbridge, Middlesex purchased. Smaller units were also added in Windsor, Ruislip and Ashford in Middlesex.
More family members joined, including Philip Suter’s father John, and by the 1960s if shoppers did not want to go to London, all they had to do was to shop in comfort in modern department stores in Slough and Uxbridge.
In 1978 the company’s owners accepted an offer from the department store chain Owen Owen and the business was sold and the family members left. Within six months the two units were re-branded as Owen Owen.
In 2013 Philip Suter persuaded his cousin Tom, son of co-founder Clarence, to write a short history of the business and this was then published online. A much more lengthy detailed history written by another family member was added. Researching for more information locally Philip has joined up with the Old Ledbury Facebook Group and the Slough 1970s Facebook group.
Since then a number of former staff, customers and even distant family from the other side of the world have made contact to comment about their memories of Suters Ltd.
Philip said ”it is amazing that so many people remember these two stores in the centre of their local towns and grew up with them. They could have worked there, seen Father Christmas in the toy department or bought their wedding dresses. It would have been really great bringing the old business story back to life much earlier on as even more people could have found it.”
In 2015, the Slough Store trades as a branch of Debenhams and the Uxbridge unit has been converted into two units with Superdrug on the ground floor and Sports Direct on the first and second floor.
To go back in time with a wealth of historical retailing information and photos the website can be found here.
Philip Suter briefly worked for Suters Ltd to the sale in 1978. Prior to that, he worked at Bourne and Hollingsworth in Oxford Street, London. Following the sale he started a career in the property business, establishing South Bucks/ West Middlesex Frank Farr & Sons residential letting department and later the JNP Partnership in High Wycombe’s residential letting office. During this time, he has been a keen supporter of ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) and served on the National Council for a time. He has also been involved since 2002 with the marketing of online insurance products using developing brand names jml Insurance and insurance4carrental.com
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