London

Riot-hit Reeves furniture store in Croydon resumes trading

Maurice Reeves stands near the destroyed shop and the smaller premises
Image caption Maurice Reeves, 80, has come out of retirement to help the business

A furniture business in south London which became a symbol of the rioting in the capital has resumed trading.

House of Reeves in Croydon, a 144-year-old store run by the same family for five generations, was burnt to the ground on 8 August.

The company has begun trading from a smaller shop 20 yards away, opposite the burnt store.

Director Trevor Reeves, 56, said the "brilliant spirit" of the staff and community's support "spurred us on".

The landmark business was established in 1867, survived both World Wars and a number of recessions, and has a road and a tram stop named after it.

Mr Reeves said: "The staff have been brilliant and the local community with their support and well wishes have really spurred us on.

Recalling the impact of the fire on the smaller store he said: "The whole front was scarred up, the windows were all broken... everything was sort of heat damaged.

"But we've all rallied around and cleaned up.

"We actually had the doors open a couple of days after the fire because we had just decided that there's an awful lot of interest and people will want to come down and have a look and we might as well open the doors and see if people want to buy things.

But customers could not get in as the area was cordoned off, he added.

Image caption The landmark store was burnt down on 8 August

Describing trading from a compact store he said: "We brought stock out of warehouses and really we just tried to make the best bits of the two shops into one shop because it is a considerably smaller area, but it does give us the opportunity to at least keep trading while we try to find out what's happening with the old site.

"Its just a brilliant spirit and they (customers) have just encompassed the whole thing by coming in and buying."

Mr Reeves' 80-year-old father Maurice has come back from retirement to help the business.

"He's got an awful lot of history in his memories. He knows far more than me or my brother," said his son.

A 33-year-old man has been charged over the fire at the store.

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