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Couple bid fond farewell to village store

PUBLISHED: 13:20 08 October 2010

Hugh and Rosie Lake reflecting on their time at the North Cove post office and shop.

Hugh and Rosie Lake reflecting on their time at the North Cove post office and shop.

Archant © 2010

A WAVENEY village store has become the latest casualty in a decline in rural amenities and has closed after 170 years of trading.

Orchardleigh Stores in North Cove, closed last month after owners Hugh and Rosie Lake decided to retire after 31 years.

The couple say changing lifestyles, the rise of supermarkets and increased red tape are responsible for the demise of the store.

The shop and post office was built in about 1840 and has traded ever since, selling everything from wellington boots to writing paper, chicken corn to custard crèmes and paraffin to pencils.

Over the years other services included cycle repairs, a butchery, home cooked hams, shoe repairs and dry cleaning.

Mr Lake, 65, said: “North Cove and Barnby, as a lot of modern villages, are now really just dormitory villages. The lifestyles of today are totally alien to those of 160 ago when shopping was often done on a daily, hand-to-mouth basis. Now it is usually done at weekly or sometimes longer intervals.”

Mr Lake said that soon people began turning to the shop only when they had run out of something or forgotten an item from the supermarket.

“Usually Orchardleigh Stores could supply it,” he said. “However this was not enough trade to make it viable enough to sustain new purchasers.

He continued: “A great deal of current legislation does not help small business in general and village shops in particular.

“Every year seems to have brought more red tape, increased financial outlay which has made it harder to pass shops on to new owners.”

Mr Lake said it is sad the village has lost its store. “The greatest things to be missed will be its role as a gathering place, as an information exchange. Can you tell me the way to? Can you tell me who will fix my tap, my window? Is old Mrs Bacon alright because her milk is still out?”

Mrs Lake, 60, said: “We will be very sad to see it go. We were hoping we would be able to live and retire in the village and be able to use the village shop. But if people do not use the facility it goes.”

The couple are looking forward to spending more time with their family. They wish to thank their wonderful staff and customers for their support and friendship.

Mr Lake said he was touched that villagers had rallied round to raise money for the couple to go and see a show in London and had bought him a new bike.

The couple hope the post office and some of the other services will move to Barnby Nursery now the shop has closed. There are still a few bargains to be had in a closing down sale from 9am to noon tomorrow.

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