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Astleys scotches closure rumours.

Byline: EMMA SNODGRASS

A FAMILY-OWNED company which has traded in Coventry for more than 270 years, is fighting rumours it's about to close.

Industrial consumables firm Astleys has occupied a landmark building in Gosford Street, city centre, since 1939, and has been trading in the city since 1730.

Today, it sells a range of 15,000 different products to trades and companies and manufactures industrial paint on the 2-acre city centre site.

The company has a turnover of pounds 8million a year and employs 75 people.

But since hardware store HE Phillips, of King William Street, Hillfields, was put on the market in April, after 88 years in business, Astleys has been plagued with inquiries from worried customers who heard it was to close.

Sales and marketing director Jonathan Astley said the product crossover between the two companies was less than 10 per cent, although the firms had always enjoyed good relations.

He added: "There are a lot of rumours flying about. People seem to link us with Phillips because both companies have been going for a lot longer than any living person can remember and, consequently, they see us as linked.

"We have been taking half a dozen calls a day from people saying we are shutting at Christmas, have gone bust, have been taken over or turned into a shopping centre.

"It's all nonsense."

Astleys first opened in Broadgate as a chandler and drysalter, selling oils, rope, canvas products and agricultural seeds. It was an exporter of rope products to America before the American Revolution.

It also had a factory in Lythalls Lane, which was destroyed in the Blitz.

The firm moved to Gosford Street in 1939 and now has four divisions'.

emma.snodgrass@mrn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

PHONE CALLS: Jonathan Astley says the speculation started when HE Phillips was put on the market. Picture: MICHELLE SPERRY
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 3, 2003
Words:310
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