“Bunce’s was an institution”: Residents react as seven branches of Sussex hardware store close

Many residents have expressed their sadness at news that Bunce’s has closed all seven of its Sussex stores due to ‘cash flow difficulties’.

Bunce’s Home Hardware closed its stores in Horsham, Storrington, Littlehampton, Steyning, Lewes and Worthing with immediate effect on Friday, January 25, confirmed a spokesman at FRP Advisory LLP – the firm advising the company.

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Bunce’s Home Hardware confirms closure of all seven Sussex stores

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All 30 members of staff working at the family-run business, which was launched in 1928, have been made redundant, the spokesman said.

Bunces Worthing Portland Road

Many readers took to this newspaper’s Facebook page to react to the news.

Victoria Mockford said: “So sad to see a long standing, local business go.”

Marion Bristow said: “Another well known name gone from our town very sad.”

Dave Hunt said: “Extremely sad news, Bunces were an institution.”

Tim Nicholls said: “Very, very sad after 90 years trading.

“I got no end of advice from them and where else could you buy screws and nails individually instead if having to buy 50?”

Many readers praised the staff for being helpful.

Mandy Worsley said: “One of my favourite shops...remember a very helpful man showing me how to repair a fuse in the fusebox when I was left home alone with three small children and no light in the house. Such nice people!”

Jean Smith said: “That’s so sad was only in there beginning of last week and with the help of a lovely gentleman got exactly what I needed. Will certainly be missed by me!”

Some saw it as a sign of people’s waning interest in DIY.

Susanna Humphreys said: “Most people have no time for DIY.

“They would rather get someone in as it is quicker, done faster and better and worth the money.

“Of course those tradesman need somewhere to buy their supplies but most seem to go to screwfix or similar.”

Bee Lima said: “Sad news! Not just for the small shop that is closing but also as it might be a sign that the new generation is losing interest on DIY creative activities.

“Please note I’m not complaining at all of the technology development which I also enjoy, not even saying it is based on a scientific research. Only reflecting on how it is also important to nurture our kids to be creative without a screen in front of them.”

Others blame the pressures on the high street.

Arongant Tucknott said: “Such a shame, lovely little family empire...hard times for the high street, the internet has alot to answer for...personally I prefer the high street!”

Nick Spooner said: “The shop rents in the high street are way to high so the small shops will always suffer in the town.”

Sue Coldwell said: “We need to rebuild the high street – maybe encourage month-long rentals for pop-up shops so that people can take a home hobby and try selling it without too large a commitment.

“The monthly changeover of retailers might lead to return visitors to the high street.”

Explaining the reason behind the closure, Ian Vickers, partner at FRP Advisory LLP, said: “Bunce’s Home Hardware has been in operation for almost a century, with a stellar reputation for providing quality goods.

“Unfortunately, the company has run into cashflow difficulties resulting in it having to close all seven stores.

“We are now focused on providing support to employees and stakeholders impacted by the closures and seeking to maximise returns for creditors.”