THEY have served commuters, residents and schoolchildren with newspapers, magazines and sweets for a combined total of more than 120 years.
But now this family of newsagents is preparing to close their doors forever.
Just tell them all we’ll miss them.Graham Hales, 65, of Locks Newsagency
Graham Hales, 65, of Locks Newsagency in Cosham has been providing people with papers since 1979, after inheriting the business from his father Norman.
It has been on its present site in Portsmouth Road, near Cosham train station, since 1962, although the family has been in the newsagency business for much longer.
‘When my great-grandfather returned from Australia after leaving the navy, he first opened a shop on Twyford Avenue in 1894,’ said Graham.
‘Back then there was no wholesaler and it was my grandfather’s job to collect papers by horse and buggy every morning.
‘The horse was called Tiny and it had a reputation for biting anything that moved. Later, my grandfather took the shop over, before my dad moved to Cosham in the sixties.’
After the shop in Cosham was passed down from his father, Graham’s sister Sue Burbridge joined him in 1980. Sue, 63, said she believes there are a variety of challenges for such stores nowadays.
She said: ‘There used to be a lot of small businesses around us, we used to anticipate a lunch rush. People would come in for something to eat or a paper to read. Now many people eat at their desks with something from home while cherry-picking the news online.’
It is not known what the shop will now become, although Graham said he believes the landlord has plans to turn it into flats.
Many customers are upset at losing the shop, including Colin Greentree, 77, who has been shopping in Locks since 1965.
He said: ‘I remember when Graham was just a boy. There were still independent traders up and down the high street.
‘The big supermarkets are rapacious, and have had a massive effect. Now there are only two shops that remain from 50 years ago. It’s a sign of society changing, not necessarily for the better.’
Graham will now retire and said he has plans to visit family and friends in Canada and Ireland, as well as carrying out work on his house.
When asked if they had a message for the customers through the decades, Graham smiled and said: ‘Just tell them all we’ll miss them.’
‘Thank you everyone,’ added Sue. ‘I wish them all the best in the future.’
The shop will close at lunchtime today.