Two Devon-based member principles of buying group AIS (Associated Independent Stores) – David Austin, managing director of Austins department store in Newton Abbot, and Liz Lawson, managing director of Lawsons homeware chain with three main locations in Tavistock, Totnes and Ivybridge – recently attended a special reception in the presence of King Charles III, held at Buckingham Palace.
Boasting more than 200 years of combined service, both businesses are family-owned and managed, and have remained stalwarts on Devon high streets. The invitation to meet King Charles was in recognition of both retailers’ contribution to the UK economy as small businesses.
Commenting on this momentous occasion, David Austin said: “We were in a group of only four retailers and were able to talk to the King who was extraordinarily personable, interested and engaging. It was such a privilege, and everyone at Austins is excited and thrilled that this recognition and honour was extended to us.”
Fellow guest Liz Lawson added: “There were many businesses there, from engineering to retail to software companies – so me with similar histories spanning over 100 years. Thank you to everyone for all their hard work and commitment which makes our small business so special.”
AIS MD Sue Kemp commented: “We are proud and delighted that two of our members were invited to meet King Charles. It is testimony to both Austins and Lawsons that they were handpicked to attend this royal reception in celebration of their commitment to retail, and the communities they serve.”
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