End of ‘phenomenal journey’ for Hitchin furniture shop Gila Timur

Gila Timur's Gareth Tiley is retiring after 30 years in business, 21 years in Hitchin. Picture: Dann

Gila Timur's Gareth Tiley is retiring after 30 years in business, 21 years in Hitchin. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A Hitchin furniture shop that has supported cottage industries in Asia for two decades is closing down – and its founder says it has been a ‘phenomenal journey’.

Gareth Tiley set up Gila Timur, an exotic emporium based in Walsworth Road, 21 years ago after years travelling in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Now he is retiring at the age of 55 to spend more time with family, and Gila Timur is holding its closing down sale – with every item reduced to clear.

“It is an end to a phenomenal journey that started 21 years ago,” Gareth told the Comet.

Gareth started importing furniture made by craftsmen in Indonesia in 1997, and was joined by business partner Shawn Reader after six years.

Asked to name the highlight of the experience, Gareth said: “Watching the small families grow and buy fridges and TVs and progress in life.” He reckons Gila Timur has helped about 50 families in Bali, Java and the Rajasthan region of India.

‘Gila Timur’ means ‘Crazy East’ in Indonesian.

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“I have had the greatest pleasure of travelling across Asia, exploring and discovering all different styles of furniture and local handicrafts,” said Gareth.

“Many items have been unique, crafted by the local people – many of whom have taken me in as one of the family as our relationships have grown.

“I started dealing with the people in their villages and still, after 21 years, go and buy from them – sharing ideas, reminiscing and being involved with family and village celebrations.

“I feel I have been extremely lucky in watching their business grow, and the delight they have in this – and I am grateful that I have been able to be part of their journey.”

Closer to home, Gareth said his customers had been “brilliant”.

“It’s gone from strength to strength,” he said. “Our customers have supported us all the way through, knowing we’re supporting people.”

He added: “It is with sadness that I am retiring, but I look forward to new adventures.”

Shawn said Gila Timur’s unique offer had attracted customers from as far off as London, Hereford and Norfolk.

“It really has been a happy and joyful time,” he said. “We attracted a sort of Bohemian customer, people wanting something different and more authentic. It’s not Ikea!

“That would be the best aspect for me – the diversity and the nice mix of people in the business. Hitchin’s a great place to be.”

Gareth said Gila Timur was a good business, and that if anybody wanted to take it on they should get in touch on 01462 441 115 or gilagareth@gmail.com.

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