Family firm set to celebrate 100 years of trading

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A FAMILY run business that has kitted out the men of Flintshire for generations is set to celebrate its 100th birthday.


Menswear institution Alf Jones & Son is due to celebrate a century in business in April.


But the iconic Shotton clothes shop’s owner insists that it will be business as usual.


Jennifer Hughes, grandaughter of original owner and founder Alfred Jones, said: “We weren’t going to bother celebrating but the family weren’t going to let it go so easily."


Family has played a key role in the life of Alfred Jones & Son.


The company was founded in 1911 in Oswestry by Alfred Jones and since then the business has been handed down through each generation of the Jones family.


The shop moved to its current site in Shotton in 1934 before passing to Jennifer’s father in 1947 and on to her in 1999.


“We’ve always wanted to keep it in the family,” explained Jennifer.


“We only ever really employ family members. We’ve got a good customer base and they’ve kept loyal over the years.”


Including Jennifer, the business employs four members of staff, all of them family members.


Working alongside Jennifer is her daughter Wendy Hewitt and grandson Jim Hewitt and rounding off the team is John Hughes, Jennifer's ex-husband.


Laughing, Jennifer said: “We get on really well.”


John said: “Jennifer and Wendy go to Manchester to buy the clothes and we do the decor and window displays together. They tend to leave me with the more general jobs and they handle the fashion side.”


Both John and Jennifer are determined that the shop should stay in touch with its roots.


As it has throughout its history, Alf Jones & Son splits its stock evenly between suits and more everyday clothing.


The store has however faced up to the realities of modern business.
Jennifer said that the shop had reacted to the financial crisis, but stressed that changes had been kept to a minimum.


She said: “We’ve cut back on stock a little I must admit, and we don’t do too much forward-buying either.


“We used to buy about six months in advance.


“Now we try to stay a bit more in the moment.”


Despite of the changing economic climate, Alfred Jones & Son insists it will enter its second century in the same spirit that it began its first.


Jennifer said: “We still stick to having Wednesday afternoon off.


“I don’t think people like it, they’d rather we stayed open, but we still do it.
“I should imagine my grandfather would recognise it if he came in.

"We had a refit recently, but I certainly think that he would still recognise the place.”

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