Villagers are reacting with surprise and sadness to learn that our last, independent, convenience store – a landmark in Ruddington for over forty years – is closing its doors for the final time this weekend.
Barclay & Cook, at 7-9 High Street, started trading on 3rd October 1977 when Howard Cox sold his then mainly “provisions” shop (including bacon, cheeses, cooked meats and loose biscuits all sold by weight) to new business partners John Barclay and David Cook. The two men were already friends – John was a Cash & Carry manager and David an accountant – so they decided upon this joint, village venture together. It proved to be a great success!
Over the years John went on to pursue other interests whilst David continued with the day-to-day running of the shop, with help from his staff and his partner for the last fifteen years, Lavinia Potter, who now co-manages the business. The change to a more conventional off-licence and convenience store came about when the new Co-op store on Church Street was built in 1990 and took away most of their traditional trade. But adapting and evolving has kept Barclay & Cook in business – until now.
David, who’s decided to retire, says he would have liked to sell the business as a going concern if financial conditions were better: “Trade has been diminishing over the last four years in particular” he reveals “because the elderly generation who were using us have passed away – and the younger generation tend to go to Asda and Morrisons and all the other supermarkets.” David admits that longer trading hours at the Co-op and the new Sainsbury’s Local on Dutton’s Hill have also had a negative impact – despite Barclay & Cook very often having cheaper prices for the same products! “…but people don’t take the time to come and have a look. If they did the benefits would be there for them – and the shop itself would still be here.” In recent times dwindling trade meant Sunday opening was abandoned and staff had to be laid off – but David and Vee have always maintained a friendly and cheery disposition for everyone who shops there. The business will shut for good after Ruddington’s Christmas Fayre this Saturday, 2nd December.
Having now resigned himself to the end of an era, David says he’s definitely looking forward to retirement: “Just to chill, relax and enjoy the rest of the years that are left to me. I would like to say a great thank you to all past and present customers for enabling me to be here for forty years. And for the ones that never came, I’m sorry – you missed something!”
Needless to say, Vee is still some way off retirement and admits these are “…very sad times but also very happy for David as well – and we’re looking forward to the future together”. She’s already begun the next chapter in her working life – opening a domestic and office cleaning business called Domestic Busy Vee’s and is now offering her services to the good folk of Ruddington and the surrounding area.
If given planning permission, the historic shop itself looks set to be substantially redeveloped by the new owner – with the removal of the current pitched and flat roofs to enable a first floor extension plus a new shop front and entrance gates.
Meantime we wish David and Vee all the very best for the future – although Ruddington High Street will never be the same again …