Sudbury: Strawberry Stores owners to retire
THERE has been a shop in Ballingdon Street on the outskirts of Sudbury since Gainsborough’s time. And John and Elizabeth Stewart hope that the general store they have spent 26 years building up there will survive after they finally hang up their aprons next week and retire.
The couple bought Strawberry Stores in 1986 after John was made redundant from his insurance job in the farming industry. Since then, they have become an important part of the local community, providing many of Ballingdon Street’s residents with post office services, groceries and more recently, newspapers.
But, according to Elizabeth, 70, changes during the past 10 years have made it more difficult for independent shops like theirs to trade.
She said: “The shop was very run down when we first bought it and we spent years building it up.
“Unfortunately, it’s changed quite a lot because there used to be a car park round the corner where houses have now been built, and double yellow lines have been installed making it harder for people to park. We also used to get a lot of Sunday trade, but since the supermarkets have been allowed to open all hours, that has hit us too.”
John, 71, said losing the Post Office from their shop four years ago was another blow, adding: “I was very disappointed when they made the decision to close the Post Office because a lot of older people in this area who are unable to get into town and queue for an hour to get their pension missed out.”
The couple wanted to thank their loyal customers and ask them to support the new shop managers who will take over from August 1.
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