Madison’s disappears overnight

A totally different picture of Madison's to the image published in August last year

On August 31, 2019, Madison’s, the ladies dress shop at 96 High Street reopened with a splash of publicity following its forced closure earlier in the year as a consequence of the  fire at the George Hotel, as covered by Rye News.

Owners Max Hutton and Siobhan Kepplar had wanted to open a shop on the High Street for some time and had at last realised their dream. The shop was soon rebranded, stock arrived and the new facia installed, the doors opened and at last their new venture was up and running, Madison’s had arrived in style.

However, despite their best endeavours and according to a local trader, as of 6pm last Monday December 30 the shop window was fully stocked but by 10am the following morning, Tuesday December 31, the shop had been stripped bare overnight and the owners had vanished.

Whatever the background is that led to the owners’ decision to close down prematurely, we now have yet another empty premises on the High Street which won’t do Rye traders any favours at all.

Owner Siobhan Kepplar (centre) during the relaunch weekend last August

From talking to other local businesses over the last few months it is becoming more and more apparent that many shops and businesses are being badly affected by the economic downturn, high rates, overheads and fixed costs, previous Brexit uncertainty and online competition.

As we know, the fire at the George Hotel was truly devastating, not just for the owners but also their staff, the supply chain, their guests, visitors and neighbouring traders. It was a focal point within the town in so many ways and for so many differing events and functions. Visitors and guests would have toured the town buying gifts and souvenirs, many would have eaten out in the town or at least had a morning coffee, toured the sights and visited the festivals, galleries, Kino, restaurants, bars, shops and the numerous tourist attractions.

For the moment, and until the George is up and running once again (which we understand could be 18 months or more) many of these visitors who would normally be spending money supporting our local businesses are just not there or at best, fewer in number and this is undoubtedly having a much wider effect on the town that might at first have been envisaged.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. I think it a shame Maddisons has closed. However, it is unsurprising, considering their frontage was blocked by barriers on the road which almost made the shop invisible. There is also little doubt that the closure of all four Rye Banks has affected the numbers of people coming in to use a Bank and then do shopping.
    Unfortunately, too late for Rye, but I read recently that Banks in future would have to ensure that one Bank was left in each Town. I wonder if there is any chance we could lure a Bank back? I somehow doubt it…

  2. I agree with Pamela that it would be good for Rye if we could lure one of the banks back but it seems unlikely. I did most of my Christmas shopping in Rye and have also purchased a couple of birthday presents since the New Year. We have some lovely shops in Rye and we are fortunate to live in such a picturesque town. We must support our local businesses at this difficult time if we don’t want to lose them.

  3. I cannot understand people lamenting that we nowadays have no bank left in Rye !!!
    What’s wrong with the branch of Nationwide ? I transferred into them back in the late 1980s, and have always been totally pleased and satisfied with everything about them, including their always pleasant and so-helpful staff !


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