‘It feels wonderful’: Portsmouth shop celebrates its 95th anniversary

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FRIENDLY smiles, a focus on family and gifts that put a smile on people’s faces are the secrets of success for a high street store that has spent 95 years in business.

U-Need-Us,based in Arundel Street, Portsmouth, celebrated its 95th anniversary over the weekend, inviting shoppers to join in the festivities.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason, and the owners and staff of the shop raise their glasses to celebrate 95 years of U-Need-Us  'Picture: Vernon Nash (180396-006)

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason, and the owners and staff of the shop raise their glasses to celebrate 95 years of U-Need-Us 'Picture: Vernon Nash (180396-006)

The shop sells party goods, fancy dress, balloons and so on, with brother and sister shop owners Steve Searle and Sandra Haggan saying that their family has always had a great deal of pride for the store, and that they are grateful to be celebrating the anniversary with customers past and present.

Sandra said: ‘It feels wonderful to celebrate our 95th anniversary with everyone.

‘We’ve been celebrating by having Roy Charles come and do some magic for the kids – he used to come here himself when he was younger – as well as a few little competitions for people.

‘It’s just great to see everyone here enjoying themselves with us.’

Magician Roy Charles performs at the U-Need-Us celebrations 'Picture: Vernon Nash (180396-008)

Magician Roy Charles performs at the U-Need-Us celebrations 'Picture: Vernon Nash (180396-008)

Steve Searle says that there are quite a few advantages to being an independent, family-run store.

He said: ‘We can get onto trends faster than the chains can and we’ve been lucky enough to build a great relationship with the people of Portsmouth over the years.

‘Having good service, treating people well and having a that relationship with people are what’s important to us.

‘By being here for 95 years, our family has been fortunate to meet so many brilliant people – and our customers feel like an extension of that family.

‘Today we have caught up with customers who came through the doors decades ago, and have brought along the next generation of their families.

‘ It has been incredible special.

‘We haven’t really started thinking too much about the 100th anniversary, but it is certainly something that we will be looking forward to.’

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason, sang the praises of the shop, having also visited when he was a small boy.

Cllr Mason said: ‘I’ve been here quite a few times in the past to pick up costumes for parties and so on.

‘My favourite costume that I’ve picked up from here was a ninja turtle outfit.

‘It’s great that we have a local shop that has done so well for so long, and is a testament to the hard work of the family.’