Frank May and his son Andrew had been looking for an opportunity to expand the successful menswear business WJ Bennett, even considering opening a branch in another town. Fate took a hand, however, when Gillian Jarrett, who ran Waves on the other side of the road, decided to retire and close her shop. This presented an ideal opportunity and this week Andrew will be opening the doors to Eddie Franks.
The opening brings together a few interwoven strands. The shop will be managed by Andy Viner, who some years back worked at Bennett’s; and some of the former Waves staff will be working in the new store. And the shop’s name is that of Andrew’s grandfather Eddie and father combined.
The interior is cool and sleek with pale walls and polished wooden floor. So what’s on offer? Eddie Franks sells contemporary casual and urbanware with a cutting edge selection of shirts and T-shirts. There are stylish trousers and chunky jackets with suitable accessories, eg socks, scarves and bags, as well as footwear. Andrew’s years of experience as a buyer shows in the quality of stock on offer and labels on sale include Element, Volcom, Etnies, and Deus ex Machina. The shop also stocks a range by Realm and Empire, whose clothes are inspired by the garment and print archives at the Imperial War Museum. Stock will change to reflect the seasons so expect shorts, sandals and flip flops for next summer.
Photos: Tony McLaughlin