Chapel Market jeans shop that once served Guns N' Roses star Slash set to shut after 40 years
PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 October 2016
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, 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"
“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.
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.”
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.”