FOR the last time, John Horne has turned off the lights in his Cosham shop and gone home.
Mr Horne, 68, has finally retired after running O.P. Lighting for 42 years.
His was a lighting specialist stop at the northern end of High Street, Cosham.
Mr Horne said the shop was one of dying breed of small, independent lighting retailers – the kind who took the time to get to know their customers by name and offered a professional as well as personal service.
He said light retailing had transformed massively since he first opened the shop as a 26-year-old.
‘We’ve seen enormous changes really,’ he said.
‘But it’s the internet that’s really altered everything.
‘People are buying much more by going online nowadays.
‘Prices have also changed a lot in that time, of course.
‘But it’s surprising in a way that they haven’t always gone up. For one thing, batteries are a lot cheaper than what they used to be.’
Mr Horne’s hard-working assistant for 36 of those years was Jackie Pratt, who lives in Cosham. Jackie retired a few years ago, but was on hand to help her old colleague in his final week of sales and packing the store up.
‘We always worked well together and had a really positive working relationship,’ he said.
The closure of O.P. Lighting means there is only one lighting specialist left in the city, the Glass and Mirror Centre in Kingston Road.
Mr Horne said the two store owners had never really considered themselves competitors.
He said he had always got along well with that shop’s owner, Eric Coleborn.
Mr Coleborn said it was sad to see a business like O.P. Lighting close but that everyone had to retire eventually.
Mr Coleborn said: ‘He offered a very good service for people in the area.
‘If you were looking for something quality then you could go to someone like John for that.’
Mr Horne said he was a wildlife enthusiast and planned to spend his retirement on the Isle of Wight enjoying more of the great outdoors.
He said: ‘I basically feel that it’s the right time to retire.
‘I’ve put an offer on a house on the Isle of Wight so I’m hoping to spend a lot of time over there. ‘
The premises of O.P. Lighting will be taken over by Cosham Decor next door, which plans to expand.