IT’S been a staple of shopping in Portsmouth for more than 65 years – but it will be closing its doors for good at the end of this month.
Keith Waldren, who runs Keith Waldren greengrocers, is shutting up shop in Tangier Road, Baffins, and retiring.
The 71-year-old said that a drop in footfall due to the rise in larger supermarkets such as Tesco in Fratton, and the growth of popularity in online shopping, has led him to close the family business.
Keith, from Hayling Avenue, said: ‘I will be sad to see it go, and so will my mother, but it is just one of those things.
‘The problem is that the road is so quiet compared to what it used to be.’
The business was started by Keith’s mother Thelma, who is now 94 years old, in April, 1951. She set up the greengrocers with her father Olden, after he left the Royal Navy.
The family already ran a florist in 1895 under the name Deakins in Market Way, then later Twyford Avenue, and so decided to start a business selling fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The business has remained a family affair until today, with Keith’s 26-year-old granddaughter Charlotte Rowley still working in the shop.
She said that due to the change in shoppers’ habits, the shop was not viable for her to take over.
‘There’s not the volume of customers any more,’ said Charlotte.
‘The new Tesco has made a big difference.’
The closure comes after city traders expressed fears over the future of their businesses before the Tesco store in Fratton last October. Owners spoke out about the loss of customers to the retail giant.
Keith has worked in the shop for 56 years, and his wife Thelma, 73, has worked there for 29.
The pair are now looking forward to pursuing their love of sailing.
A closing party will be held at the shop on its last day – Saturday, October 29 – from 7am until 4pm – to thank the shop’s customers and staff.
Keith said: ‘We have some very loyal customers from all around the town. They like buying the old-fashioned way from an independent greengrocer.’
Keith plans to open back up for a short time in December solely selling Christmas trees.