Thriving corner shop newsagent is sold to its staff

SHOP From left, Jo Hill and Lynda Coleman
SHOP From left, Jo Hill and Lynda Coleman
HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum from the air     Picture: Shaun Roster

‘Nowhere in Europe offers everything Portsmouth does’

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WHILE driving her daughters to school one day, Jo Hill spotted an empty shop and immediately thought she could add to the two other newsagents she already owned in the Fareham area.

That was in 1993 and now, 18 years later, she has sold High Street News, on the corner of High Street and West Street in Fareham, to her two assistants.

The newsagent is a popular one – due to Mrs Hill’s ethos of building a friendly team who know their customers by name, and filling a niche in newspaper delivery at a time when many newsagents withdrew their services.

‘A lot of other newsagents found it hard to find reliable people for the rounds, but we’ve been lucky,’ she said.

‘I’ve even had paperboys still work for me when they’re driving – putting the papers in the back of their cars and delivering them.

‘I’ve always tried to make this a proper corner shop, where we know everyone – we’re friendly.’

Mrs Hill, 56, of Warsash, still owns JD News in Highlands Road, Fareham, which she will continue to run.

The decision to sell, she said, was down to a desire to downsize because of her age.

She was originally going to sell JD News, but when she was approached by her staff to buy High Street News, she saw the opportunity.

The shop was taken over officially on Monday.

She said: ‘They’ve worked here for years, they know the customers already, and it made a lot of sense.

‘I was very sad on Sunday, very sad indeed.’

New owner Lynda Coleman, 58, was formerly the shop manager, and has worked there for six years.

She said she was looking forward to running the shop.

She added: ‘I’ve been managing the place for nearly three years – if I don’t know what I’m doing by now, I never will!

‘We are finding our feet at the moment, and then we’ll think about making a few changes, but nothing drastic.’