When I was married and at home with my two young children, my husband came home one day and told me he wanted to leave his job and become a self-employed shopkeeper. He wanted to run a fishing tackle shop because that was his main interest in life.
Well, I wasn’t too pleased at this because both my children were under school age and although we had a considerable mortgage at that time, his salary was certainly adequate to support us all so long as we were careful.
He looked through the fishing magazines to see whether there were any local sporting businesses for sale, whilst I looked for anything that was likely to give us at least as good an income as we had at that time.
I found an advert tucked away at the bottom of a page, and, after a discreet word with the owners of my local corner general store, I found that it was, indeed, this shop that was for sale.
Well we bought the shop.
What followed when two complete novices tried to run the shop was quite amusing, sad at times, and on one occasion terrifying.
We eventually acquired two further shops and employed 24 regular staff, with children from the age of 14 coming in to work at the weekends.
During this time, I took to jotting down small incidents on pieces of scrap paper, brown paper bags and anything that came to hand and putting them in a box file.
Some 25 years later I found this old, musty file in the bottom drawer of a rusty filing cabinet at the back of the garage when moved house. It was retrieved from the dumpster, and one, cold winter’s evening I opened it and started sorting the scraps of paper and resolved to put pen to paper and put some of the events together to make a story. So, although the events were true, they did not necessarily happen sequentially. Also, when I say pen to paper, one should remember that it was before the days of computers or at least at the time Sinclair was just selling his very first on the market.
I still have a few tattered and faded pieces of paper left in the musty old file and events quite often come to the fore of my mind that were not written down at the time, so hopefully, when the mood takes me again I will be able to continue with my memories of being a local shopkeeper.
Whatever Did We Do Before Supermarkets?