Pledgers is closing after 66 years of selling shoes
Next weekend will mark the end of an era for a popular Bury St Edmunds shoe shop which has served generations of people in the town over nearly 66 years.
Pledgers, in St John's Street, will close its doors on Saturday, July 27 as its owners, Valerie and Alan Kerridge, wave goodbye to the business world and step into retirement.
Valerie's parents, Ron and Kathleen Pledger, first opened the shop in November 1953 and initially rented before then purchasing the store.
Valerie and Alan, who have lived in Bury for 30 years, joined the business in 1984.
The couple, who are in their 60s, and have two children - Alison and Claire - and one granddaughter, Jessica, said they have enjoyed their 33 years trading in their hometown.
Alan said: "It's a very friendly street, mostly independents, and the shop has served us well down the years.
"We'll miss the camaraderie with people down the street, there are lots we have known for many years as well as the customers. We've made many friends over the years, regulars coming in and chatting.
"It will be sad, there's a lot of fond memories but at the same time, it's now time for us to make that step and retire."
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Valerie added: "We will miss in some ways because I enjoy chatting with customers. We've always been a friendly shop and have our regulars in.
"But in other ways it will be quite a relief not to have the day-to-day stresses and strains of running a shop."
The shop was well-known for its children's shoes and fitting service, which ran for 20 years, but the couple said trading in recent years has become more difficult.
"Retail at the moment isn't very easy," Valerie said. "The internet has definitely hit all shops to a degree and we've obviously been hit by that.
"A lot of people will no longer come into a town centre for whatever reason. Bury has got issues with car parking and public toilets.
"People aren't shopping in the same way."
The couple also paid tribute to long-serving employees Jane Nolan, Pat Brown and Jackie Little, who have clocked up more than 53 years of service between them.
Following retirement, Valerie and Alan said they will not be moving from Bury, and are looking forward to spending some relaxing time in the local area.
The shop has now been sold to an investor who will be leasing the building.