Tommy Ball name lives on at Blackburn store
A SHOE shop which keeps the legacy of Blackburn’s world famous rag-and-bone man alive will remain open indefinitely, its owners have said.
The store in Eanam, on the corner of Cicely Street, Blackburn, will continue to run as a shoe shop bearing the name Tommy Ball’s by owner Maralyn Rigby and manager Brenda Scott after the lease was secured for another 25 years.
Mrs Rigby has vowed that Tommy Ball’s name will live on despite the sale of the warehouse in Higher Audley Street, Blackburn, near Hartley Street.
In his heyday Tommy Ball ran a shoe store in Eanam and a warehouse full of shoes in Higher Audley Street, Blackburn.
The building in Higher Audley Street was bought by Tommy Ball’s friends Maralyn and Paul Rigby when it was put up for sale.
But they were forced to place the vast Tommy Ball’s site, which has been empty since the famous shoe shop ceased trading and went into admin-istration in May last year.
The site, put up for sale two years ago for £1.5 million, has been bought by Aquamania, which will move from its base in Kent Street to the four-floor 28,000sq ft site to create one of the coun-try’s largest pet stores.
It is hoped the expansion of Aquamania will create around 20 jobs and open by the end of October.
Mrs Rigby said: “We hope the site brings Aquamania more luck and business.
"We weren’t getting the turnover as a shoe shop, there are lots of shoes sold everywhere in supermarkets and town centre shops. The pet shop doesn’t have much competition.
“But we have leased the Tommy Ball’s store in Eanam to remain open as a shoe shop.
“We want to keep Tommy Ball’s legacy in Blackburn. People come into the shop today and still rem-ember him when he was on the market.
“We’ll keep the letters up on the building so people know we are still here.”