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Chapel Market jeans shop that once served Guns N' Roses star Slash set to shut after 40 years

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 October 2016

Murray Hoffman at the Highbury Jean Centre in Chapel Market. Inset, Slash was once a customer. Pictures: Polly Hancock/Anthony Devlin/PA

Murray Hoffman at the Highbury Jean Centre in Chapel Market. Inset, Slash was once a customer. Pictures: Polly Hancock/Anthony Devlin/PA

Archant

A Chapel Market trader who sold jeans to Guns N’ Roses guitar legend Slash is shutting up shop after 40 years in business.

Murray Hoffman on his clothing stall at Chapel MarketMurray Hoffman on his clothing stall at Chapel Market

Murray Hoffman, 53, owner of Highbury Jean Centre, will quit the store because of competition from online retailers and uncertainty about business rates.

Murray said: “I’m spending thousands of pounds a month on menswear, but we’re not taking enough.

“A lot of shoppers don’t necessarily come up to Chapel Market. They go online.”

The business started in the 1970s when Murray’s tailor dad set up shop on Highbury Corner before moving to Holloway Road some years later.

"You’ve got fashionable people and unfashionable people. You’ve got wealthy people and others who aren’t so wealthy. But everyone gets along"

Murray Hoffman

“I was at school at the time, but started working part-time. Dad retired 17 or 18 years ago and I took over.”

It was in the 1980s when musician Slash strolled into Murray’s store. After buying a pair of jeans, the GNR lead guitarist left and tried to hail a taxi.

But the driver took one look at the heavy metaller and kept on going.

Slash is not the only memorable customer. One suspected shoplifter threatened to use a knife on Murray if he challenged him.

Slash - pictured at a book signing in central London in 2007 - was once a customer at Highbury Jean Centre. Picture: PA/Anthony DevlinSlash - pictured at a book signing in central London in 2007 - was once a customer at Highbury Jean Centre. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

Undeterred, Murray chased the man through the streets before the thief jumped Tube station barriers and fled underground.

After explaining to station staff, train traffic controllers stopped trains leaving so Murray and the police could catch the thief.

Describing what he would miss about the shop, Murray said: “I enjoy it when you get nice customers. There are so many different people around here.

“You’ve got fashionable people and unfashionable people. You’ve got wealthy people and others who aren’t so wealthy. But everyone gets along.”

Murray Hoffman outside Highbury Jean Centre. Picture: Polly HancockMurray Hoffman outside Highbury Jean Centre. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Highbury Jean Centre closes its doors for the final time in January, but Murray will not leave trading in Chapel Market altogether. He has decided to keep his stall.

He added: “But once I come out of the shop I’m taking a holiday.”

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