Village shoppers are reeling from the news that their much loved independent greengrocer’s is to cease trading at the end of today. The shock closure brings to an end over 60 years in Ruddington for the popular retailer – at No.2 High Street – which was opened by J.R. (“Wilf”) Thomas back in the 1950s.
It appears the family company has gone into liquidation without being able to give any prior warning to its staff. Workers only learned they were to lose their jobs when they turned up for their shift at half past seven this morning. Some staff were tearful as they served shoppers today – with many customers seemingly just as upset to hear about Thomas’s sudden closure as they were! Eight people are set to be made redundant.
Current owner, Wilf’s son Glyn Thomas, told RUDDINGTON.info that he was “too busy” to talk to us today. However there was speculation things were not going well for him when he announced last year that The Salad Bowl in West Bridgford was set to close – after being run by Glyn for over 20 years. But the end of Thomas’s in Ruddington – which has always seemed well supported by the village – came totally out of the blue.
It’s more bad news for Ruddington’s village centre which has been struggling to keep its independent shops open recently. The loss of footfall caused by the closure of three bank branches, two ‘off-licence’ convenience stores, and other units remaining empty certainly hasn’t helped. Shop manager Ian Whittaker (pictured serving above) has worked at the greengrocer’s for 33 years. He says that High Street trade definitely HAS dropped recently. “Ruddington’s like a ghost town some days” he told us “whilst the supermarkets are selling fruit and veg at a loss to get people in.”
Customers Peter and Adele Siepmann commented: “So very sorry. A very sad loss for the village” and Jonathan Witherall remarked: “Sad day. I was in the shop today and really disappointed to hear this.” Michelle Dickson added: “Great shop and lovely team. A sad day for Ruddington. So sorry for Glyn and his staff.” Pam Pearce observes: “This small busy shop next to the Post Office is part of the fabric of village life. So upset!” and High Street neighbours Perkins Hardware tweeted:“They will be much missed in Ruddington.” (Many other comments and tributes have now been added to the Ruddington Facebook page.)
Already villagers are rallying around to see if they can save yet another local shop from closure. Perhaps “Crowd Funding” or a wealthy benefactor may be the answer? Ruddington Parish Councillor David Hall has suggested the Plunkett Foundation for community led village shops might be an option for locals to look at. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.
Whatever happens next, sadly it seems time’s up for Thomas’s.