FOR nearly a century, the Cripps family have served fresh fish from their Fareham store.
But now, owners Peter Cripps and his son Stephen are saying a sad farewell to the town.
P & S Cripps fishmongers in West Street is the last fishmonger in Fareham and as the duo close the doors next Saturday, it will be the end of a once-thriving trade.
Stephen, 59, said: ‘My grandfather Arthur started the business in 1916. It was always in my family.
‘It has been a struggle to trade as an independent business in these modern times. To be honest, we have been struggling for the past year.
‘The shop sold at auction a couple of weeks ago and offered us a six-month lease, but neither my father or I wanted that.
‘We did appreciate the offer, but now is the time to close.’
Stephen will look after his father Peter, who is 83 and has worked at the shop since 1944.
The shop was originally on the site of Robert Dyas in West Street until 1959 when it moved to 133 West Street. It then downscaled to a shop in Portland Street, before returning to West Street, this time at 147, where it is today.
There have been a steady stream of loyal customers paying a visit to the shop to pick up some of their fish and free-range farm eggs for the last time.
Shirley Young, 80, and her husband Dennis, 84, remember the Cripps well, after becoming regular customers more than 40 years ago when they moved to the area.
Shirley, from Wallington, said: ‘We will have to go to Sainsbury’s now but they don’t have the same service. I like old-fashioned owner-owned stores. Peter and Stephen are lovely people. It will be a shame to see them go.’
Tony Hinde, 80, from Gosport Road, has a long history with the store, dating back to 1941 when he moved to Fareham.
He said: ‘They have been a fixture here for as far back as I can remember. It’s a sign of the times. It’s the only fishmonger I know of anywhere. They will be missed.’
Stephen, who has no children to pass the business on to, said: ‘It really is the end of an era. In another three years we would’ve done a century, but we needed to go now.’
The shop’s last day will be on Saturday, June 1.