End of an era for DIY store
MORE than a century of DIY will be polished off when Green's hammers its final nail next month.Green's, in Woobridge Road, has become an Ipswich institution in the 33 years since Derrick Green took the store over.
By Jon Tunney
MORE than a century of DIY will be polished off when Green's hammers its final nail next month.
Green's, in Woodbridge Road, has become an Ipswich institution in the 33 years since Derrick Green took over at the store.
But the foundations were already in place when Derrick took on the job – WG Cunnold opened a store on the site in the 1870s.
And when Derrick puts up the closed sign for the last time, it will also be the final cut for his joinery service – something he has become known for throughout Ipswich DIY circles.
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He said: "A lot of people do joinery, but they don't do one-offs like we do."
Some of Derrick's joinery projects make the history of his store pale in comparison.
Period pieces have included Victorian, Georgian and even a whole Tudor staircase.
He said: "The period stuff has really increased in the last few years because people want to undo the rubbish from the 60s and put things back the way they were.
"I've even had people ordering wooden windows to replace plastic ones they're taking out."
Queen Victoria was on the thrown and enjoying a golden patch towards the end of her reign when Cunnold's first opened its doors.
She was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877, celebrated her Golden Jubilee ten years later and her Diamond Jubilee ten years after that.
There is no report as to whether she attended the first Wimbledon Championships in 1877, or sampled Coca Cola after it was invented in 1886.
While Derrick and his wife Margaret don't quite hark back to those days, the Greens have happy memories since taking over from Clarkson's in 1969.
Derrick, 70, said: "Everyone's been very kind down the years. I will miss the people, about 90 per cent of our customers have been really kind.
"I have customers who used to come in here with their fathers when I first opened the place.
"They always say they came along with their dads to get stuff, so they come here as well.
"A lot of the regular customers have been very upset that we're closing. I had one woman who wanted to take a photo of me outside the shop so she could do a painting."
In more than 30 years of doing it himself, Derrick has seen his fair share of changes.
When he opened the store, he said he knew the business was on the up, but he can scarcely have imagined the 'changing rooms' culture of today.
He said: "There have been so many changes. For instance, when we started we used to stock four different brands of paint, now we only do one and we only dabble in that.
"There were 15 shops around the town when I opened the shop, but I'm the only one left, apart from Homemaker.
"The new, big stores don't provide the same level of service that we do. We can give the right advice to our customers."
But despite stiff competition from the big boys of DIY, Derrick says he hasn't been driven out of the business.
He said: "That's not the reason I'm packing up. I'm at retirement age so I thought I would pack it up.
"But I won't be finishing entirely, I'll be doing work for myself instead of for other people.
"There's jobs round the house that I promised to do 15 years ago, which still haven't been done. So there'll be plenty to do. But I'd like to take the chance to thank all the customers who have shopped here over the years."
Although he admits he will miss the store, Derrick says he is looking forward to spending a bit of time at home.
And his wife, Margaret, will also be enjoying a well-earned break from the books she has managed for 33 years.