HUNDREDS of loyal customers came out to show their support and pay their tributes as a chandlery closed its doors.
Chris Hornsey Chandlery, in Eastney Road, Milton, closed on Saturday, marking the end of four decades in business.
Its owner Andrew Chamberlain was found dead in the shop on November 25 by his wife, Emma. He had suffered a suspected heart attack, aged 53.
Emma, from Drayton, said: ‘I want to keep Andrew’s memory alive but we can’t keep the shop going.
‘Andrew was the business, a lot of people were very loyal to him.
‘They came in for him. He was a lovely, lovely man.’
Andrew had worked in the shop, selling boat, marine and yacht supplies, his whole adult life – starting as a Saturday boy at the tender age of 15.
The shop started as a chandlery in May 1976 and when the previous owners, Mavis and Chris Hornsey, whom the business is named after, retired 12 years ago, Andrew took the reins.
Hundreds of people attended the shop’s last day on Saturday, and scores of Andrew’s friends and customers pitched in to help sell the remaining stock.
Ted Jones, 81, from Portsmouth, came out of retirement to return to his shop assistant role for the day.
He said: ‘It is a shame. There’s not really another good chandler’s in Portsmouth. When they needed some help I offered to come in.
‘Andrew was such a good chap and very knowledgeable about anything in the boating world. He was a very good at sailing and rigging, it was quite something to watch him doing it.’
Heartbroken Emma, 49, said she was grateful for the support.
‘He was so well thought of,’ she said.
‘Hundreds of people came to his funeral, it was amazing.
‘Andrew was always so cheerful. Running your own business can be stressful but he didn’t let it show.
‘I just miss him so much.’
Members of sailing clubs, boating clubs and even the RNLI, turned up to mark the occasion and a toast was raised to Andrew when the trading day was over.
Emma said: ‘I just want to say thank you to everybody for the support.
‘It is the end of an era. Andrew was so dedicated to his customers. He would always put himself out and go out of his way to help people.
‘He would never let somebody leave with something they didn’t need. A lot of people come in for his expertise.’
The shop will now be sold as an empty commercial premises.