AFTER nearly 23 years of running St Breward Stores, Denis and Christine Lusby closed their doors for the final time on Sunday.
After moving down from Worcester in 1993, Denis and Christine decided to take on the running of St Breward Stores at Row where it has been since the 1850s and the couple have been there ever since they first opened on Monday, July 4, 1994.
Two years ago they also took on the day-to-day running of the Post Office.
However, Sunday saw their last ever day as they closed at 5pm ahead of the stores relocation to Churchtown where Old Inn landlord Darren Wills has agreed to take on the running of the shop and the Post Office after converting his garage, which is next to the pub into a suitable space.
All of the stock, fixtures and fittings were moved into the new store at the beginning of the week although newspapers and essentials could still be bought in the pub.
Denis admitted that the sale had been a protracted affair but is backing Darren to make it a success.
He said: “We put the shop on the market two years ago along with the Post Office and we had a couple of people interested but it never materialised.
“In the end I had to go to the parish council and tell them the situation that we needed to get rid of the shop. Darren, who also owns the Old Inn, was the only person to come forward and we’re glad that he did. He’s decided to convert his garage, which is next to the pub into the shop and Post Office and hopefully it’ll work out well.”
The move from Row, which is in the centre of the village to Churchtown may affect some people, but Denis is hoping that people continue to support Darren.
Denis said: “The existing shop here at Row is more in the centre of the village and has been here since the 1850s while Churchtown is more at the top of the hill. People are obviously used to the shop being here but I’m hoping that they will continue to support Darren.
“Darren’s spoken to the local parish council and he’s hoping to get a free bus running once or twice a week for people to come down and get the things they need, so it should be accessible to everyone.”
As you can imagine, running a shop which is open 82 and a half hours a week plus a Post Office is an all consuming lifestyle, however both Denis and Christine are well known in the community with Denis currently chairman of the parish council as well as being part of the Kernow Credit Union and the St Breward Carnival Committee.
Denis has paid tribute to the people of St Breward for all of their help over the years, although they certainly haven’t seen the last of them as they look forward to retiring in the village.
He said: “It’s really mixed emotions for us at the moment. We came down here nearly 23 years ago from Worcester and the people in the village have been brilliant. Since day one we’ve felt part of the community. We’ve got involved with all sorts of things within the village. It’s a two-way thing, we’ve provided for the people of St Breward and the surrounding areas and they’ve been great to us with the way that they’ve welcomed us and made us feel so at home.
“We’ve bought a plot of land and in the next couple of years we’re going to build our retirement home here.
“Where the current stores are, we’re going to turn the building into two homes and then sell one off so that we can then afford to build our retirement home and then we’ll decide at a later date what we want to do with the other building. So we’re not properly retiring yet, but we have lots to look forward to.”
With the shop having been open 363 days a year, St Breward Stores and the Post Office has taken up their life, leaving less time for themselves and their family.
However, with the Lusbys being life members of the National Trust and having six grandchildren in North Cornwall to keep them occupied, they certainly won’t be short of things to do although Denis is also looking forward to enjoying some of the simpler things in life.
Denis continued: “I’m looking forward to trying to have a lie-in instead of getting up at 6.30am every day but I don’t think it’s going to be possible as I’m used to getting up every day at that time. As well as that, I’m looking forward to later in the week just walking down to Churchtown, picking up the paper and going into the Old Inn for a pint.
“Christine and I are also life members of the National Trust and we’re really looking forward to be able to explore areas we’ve never really been able too before and we also have two of our children down here and six grandchildren so I’m sure we’ll be kept busy as well as continuing to get involved in lots of local projects.”
Despite that, there are a few things they’re going to have to re-aquaint themselves with.
Denis concluded: “It’s going to be strange in some respects. I can’t just nip downstairs whenever I need some ketchup and we’re going to have to start going shopping again. But we’re looking forward to a new chapter in our lives.”