For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.
Open All Hours (11.08.09)
Open All Hours (11.08.09)I’m bereft; my little corner hardware shop has closed. The family-owned Aladdin’s cave for do-it-yourself has served the community for more than 60 years closed after losing its battle against the recession, rising rent – and gangs of youths.
Opened just after the Second World War, this little gem of a store has been passed down through three generations of the same family, and has become something of an icon in our town centre.
The owner, who has worked in the store since he was a 12-year-old, attributes its decline with the loss of nearby Woolworth’s store which has deterred customers from shopping in the area and rent rises.
He has also had to contend with gangs of youths, who loiter outside the shop, frightening away many of his older customers. The boys in groups of up to 14 hang around outside the supermarket next door, getting in the way, swearing at customers, asking customers to buy them drink and cigarettes and abusing them if they don’t.
When I had no idea what I needed for the task in hand, a small description to John or Jim, describing it as: “a square gizmo, you know that one that . . .” and they would patiently find the required item, carefully wrap it (in a brown paper bag naturally) and charge me but a few pence for the item, the advice was gratis.
Now if I want a left-handed thingamajig, I’m going to have to drive two miles to an enormous out of town warehouse, park in their car park with its burger van improving the ambience of the retail park by dispensing food, just in case I feel peckish after my long drive.
Nobody around inside to advise me, if I do stumble across my goal, it will be packed in 50s, my local shop would sell one item if necessary and all the time on the tannoy announcements “will the ‘ardware managa’ come to the front desk”..
2022 Footnote: It has been transformed into, what else? A Costa Coffee shop.