Store closes doors after 35 years

Tanya Buckney and Karen Thorpe outside their Cleo Bagland store on the corner of St John and York streets, which will close at the end of the month. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Tanya Buckney and Karen Thorpe outside their Cleo Bagland store on the corner of St John and York streets, which will close at the end of the month. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

CLEO Bagland will close on June 30 after 35 years of trading on one of Launceston's key retail corners.

Co-owner Karen Thorpe, who has run hospitality and retail businesses around the city with husband Rod for the past 40 years, said the struggling retail sector around Launceston and a desire to spend more time with family had forced her decision.

Mrs Thorpe said she bought the business on the corner of St John and York streets more than four years ago, with a view to passing the business on to her daughter Tanya Buckney and other family.

"But as soon as we bought the business, retail around here started to decline and hasn't picked up since," she said.

Mrs Thorpe said she believed that online shopping, expensive parking options, and antisocial behaviour from two nearby bus terminals had affected business.

Mrs Buckney said CBD retail was fighting for trade against suburban shopping centres in Kings Meadows and Mowbray that offered much of the same in goods and services but with free parking.

Mrs Thorpe said leaving the business would give her more time to spend with family, particularly her son who was dealing with the repercussions from an assault last year.

The store would offer at least 30 per cent off all stock before it closes at the end of the month.

"It's funny - since we've put up the `closing down' signs, business has actually improved," Mrs Thorpe said.

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