The Beginning – Ezra Janes
After more than two centuries of farming and farrier background, in 1888 Ezra Janes broke away from the village-based family tradition and began making shoes for people instead of horses. Three years after operating his business from a cottage, Ezra decided that he would build a house and a shop. Firstly, he negotiated the purchase of a property round the green, only to find that he had bought it from a man who didn’t even own it and so lost his deposit! In 1891 the original eight room building was erected which now forms the main part of Janes.
Ezra did rounds in Dagnall, Ringshall and Little Gaddesden collecting shoe orders and repairs. Whilst also conducting activities as Clerk to Edlesborough Parish Council and Deacon for Edlesborough Baptist Chapel.
In 1918 after Charles, Ezras son, returned from service in the First World War he became involved in the business and shortly after married Ethel and moved into the shop. Charles introduced the hire and recharge of accumulator batteries for wirelesses, from that he went on to sell radios and cycles.
In the early 1940’s Philip, Ezra’s Grandson, finished school at Cedars in Leighton Buzzard and he
began to get involved in the business but on being called up for service in 1943 Charles had to hold
fort until war was once again over.
In 1948 Philip moved into the shop with his new wife Mary and remained there for 20 years. With the
help of his brother, Don, the business grew and with the demise of shoe making and repairing, the
shoe retail side grew, along with the addition of electrical appliances such as kettles, irons, wash
boilers and spin driers etc. By now the business had been separated into two shops with the shoe
shop and the cycle/electrical shop standing next to one another in the High Street.
Shoes to Carpets
During the seventies Martin and Peter (Ezras Great grandchildren) became involved in the business and in 1976 the house was converted into extended shop premises. Carpet sales were also now becoming a more significant part of the business and in 1994, 103 years of local history came to an end when Martin and Peter closed the shoe shop doors for the last time with the cycle, electrical and carpet side of the business very much alive.
2004 saw the shop at No. 8 High Street became vacant and the decision was taken to open through our present store and fit it as our carpet showroom. Martin’s daughter Louise came to manage the new store and the business has seen a real growth in this area of the company’s trading.
Louise focuses on Interior Design and Advice for the Carpets & Flooring department, visiting customers at home, ensuring a smooth transition from start to finish with her fantastic team of fitters. Whilst Andrew, Louise’s brother, has introduced a very successful Appliance Repair Service to the business.
Retail has always had its challenges and our business is no exception, from the financial crash of the 1930’s, rationing in the wars, power strikes in the 1970’s, slumps in the 1980’s, then the rise of large companies and internet businesses destroying the high streets. It’s been tough for each generation. The Janes’ team have remained steadfast in our customer approach, always putting our customers first, going the extra mile when all else would fail.
Even in 2020 when we saw the world come to a halt with the outbreak of COVID-19, person to person contact was restricted and isolation from others became the norm. The shop was in the same unusual state as the rest of the country; there was an eerie isolation with no customers coming in and a desolate shopfloor. Throughout the whole Pandemic the shop stayed open behind closed doors, adapting to the hurdles placed in front of us. Deliveries of appliances and flooring whilst wearing face coverings and social distancing gave us the ability to keep helping customers. The slogan of the business became: “If you need it, and we’ve got it, we’ll get it to you”. With some new members on the team and some the same, Janes kept going!
Janes Ltd Today
Fast forward to 2022 and Janes Ltd is still family run. Andrew and Louise Janes, the brother and sister team are now the 5th generation to continue this legacy from their Great, Great Grandfather Ezra alongside an awesome team. There are two sides to the business: Carpets & Flooring with a showroom showcasing a huge selection of styles, colours and variety. And the retail shop which sells all sorts from light bulbs, screws and WD40 to TV’s, Appliances & Bikes.
We offer a one stop shop for all our customers that just want to have an easy shopping experience, we will help you and guide you through the choices ensuring you’ve got the right product that’s right for you and your home. We are also a Euronics Partner, this means we can offer competitively priced products as we are part of an international buying group.