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Shop building will be Surplus

PUBLISHED: 19:35 07 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:04 03 March 2010

IT'S known as the shop in Felixstowe that sells everything from toothbrushes to wellies and, after 40 years, it's closing.

On Saturday July 20, owner John Bradford will hang up his apron at hardware store Felixstowe Surplus for the last time as he and his wife retire.

IT'S known as the shop in Felixstowe that sells everything from toothbrushes to wellies and, after 40 years, it's closing.

On Saturday July 20, owner John Bradford will hang up his apron at hardware store Felixstowe Surplus for the last time as he and his wife retire.

For John and wife Bernadette both 63, the closure of the shop will represent the end of four decades of hard work in which they have built up the store to become one of the best-loved shops in town.

He said: "I've worked 72 hours per week, six days a week for 40 years so I'm in need of a rest! I only usually get one day off a week and that's Sunday when I do all the paperwork."

John bought the store when he was just 23. Back in the early 1960s it was owned by Cramphorns, a seed merchant based in Chelmsford, who sold mainly tools.

"They owned this shop and rented one across the road, and we took on the shop on a five year lease. I had worked at a filling station in Colchester after doing my National Service but it was still a big venture."

It was Saturday April 1, 1962 when the shop doors opened at Felixstowe Surplus for the first time selling a more select range of provisions.

"When we started the shop it was mainly government surplus, such as that from the army, but it changed over the years. We gradually moved on to sell other things as the amount of surplus reduced – there's not much of it about any more.

"We now sell more camping gear and some clothing lines here which you can't get anywhere else – I think we're the only shop in Felixstowe for camping equipment."

With the closure of the shop, John said that many of his regular customers were left bemused as to where they would shop in future.

"Everybody is stumped – they don't know what to do without us. People have been upset about it are angry at us for having to send them elsewhere!

"When I retire I plan to do as little as possible – we've got a son in Bahrain and friends in Canada and the USA so we hope to do some travelling as long as we keep out health. I will miss the shop – forty years is a long time and it will be quite a change."

As for the veritable cornucopia of stock, which includes such items as ant-traps, toys, pen-knifes, locks, bolts and steps, this will be slowly reduced.

"We will be running down the stock gradually over the next few weeks and then, about two weeks before we close, we will have a big sale of all the remaining items. We'd both like to say a big thank-you for your support and custom over the years."

The shop will be turned into three flats and will form part of a six-flat development of two bedroom flats on the current shop site and the adjacent land.

It was hoped a shop would continue to occupy the current site of Felixstowe Surplus but a buyer for the premises could not be found.

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