The owner of one Thornton Heath’s longest running businesses has spoken about how with ‘heavy heart’ she made the decision to close up shop after 50 years.

Sophie Papanicolaou has run Parthenon Fashions, which her mother Georgia opened in 1968 at NO 4 Ambassador House, for 30 years.

She spoke last year to The Chronicle about how she had seen the best and the worst of Thornton Heath but in more recent times it was the worst. Sophie has seen Ambassador House go from a bustling office block to  derelict and occupied by squatters with increasing unchallenged anti social behaviour.

The Chronicle understands she decided to leave even though she had a substantial lease left on the shop, which is available to rent.

The council is in the midst of a project to transform the forecourt but it has come too little too late for the fashion retailer. 

Sophie told The Chronicle: “I have spoken to all my customers, and people who just came in to talk to me when they heard that the shop was closing, and have explained my reasons for closing, and they all understand  my situation and why I have had to do so.

“That little shop served a lot of people over the years. Even though there were other clothes shops around back in the day, the owners used to come and have their clothes made by my Ma. Ladies used to come from all over England to the shop. And we have met some very interesting people over the years.”

She added: “What can I say, I was totally overwhelmed by the response of so many and  the kind words of my loyal customers. It is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision to close.

“I want to thank all our lovely customers, both past and present for their kind custom and support and above all their friendship.

“In the past 50 years many people have passed through the door……many, many memories!”