Farewell to 'Pennywise Poppets' as shop closes
A FAMILY-run toy shop is closing down after 28 years' trading.
Pennywise, in Meir, was opened in 1985 by husband and wife David and Cynthia Miller, on a 25-year lease.
Mr Miller died three years later and the shop continued to be run by Mrs Miller, her son Carl and daughter Michelle Wright.
But the Weston Road shop – which sells toys for children aged six months and above – will open for the final time on March 2.
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The closure has been blamed on a controversial new one-way system off Weston Road which has made it more difficult for drivers to park.
Traders have also previously complained about residents-only parking bays in nearby streets and the loss of a free car park to make way for the building of the new Meir Health Centre.
Now 43-year-old Carl, of Meir Park, is planning to open a smaller shop in Barlaston.
He said: "It is the end of an era. I like being with people so I will always work in retail.
"We have had some good times and some of the staff have been with us for 18 years.
"I call them the Pennywise Poppets; they are very hard working but unfortunately we have to let them go. The one-way street has killed the local businesses. We have had our moments as a family and people always ask, how can you work with family? But you get used to it and it has been great to experience so many good times together."
Carl, who has a 15-year-old daughter, Ashley, and an eight-year-old son, James, is planning to open the new shop next month – and knows his mum will never be far away.
Mrs Miller, aged 63, of Milton, said: "We have worked hard but we have had some fun. I am very sad to be leaving the shop."
Customers have been left shocked by the planned closure.
Deborah Daniels, aged 48, of Meir, said: "It's a shame that the shop is shutting.
"There is nowhere else like it in Meir, I regularly come in for gifts for the grandchildren."
June Carson, aged 77, of Meir, said: "The shop will be sadly missed because Pennywise has been here for years and you could always find a bargain here.
"The nearest place for toys now would be in Longton and not everybody has a car."