Family fruit and veg shop to close after 63 years
- Credit: Robert Payne
A fruit and vegetable shop which has been serving villagers and residents in the Fens for 63 years is to close its doors for the final time.
Jackie and David Payne have been running the shop on High Road, Guyhirn for around 15 years, but now, they feel it is the right time to call it a day.
“It will be closing in a month or two because mum and dad are retiring,” Robert Payne, Jackie and David’s son, said.
“Mum and dad are getting on now and it’s not viable for me, my sister or brother to continue it.”
The business, known as Jackie’s Fruit and Veg Shop, started through Robert’s grandparents Neil and Doris Payne in 1958.
Doris moved from Norwich to the Fens to help run the shop with Neil as they also worked on the farm to provide a sustainable source of income.
The couple began to sell the likes of tulip bulbs, before selling fruit and vegetables ranging from apples and potatoes to strawberries and onions.
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“Mum and dad took over when my nan and grandad were there originally when they opened the shop,” Robert said.
“Dad originally lived in Wisbech St Mary where I grew up with my brother and sister.
“When it was time for mum and dad to take over the shop, they moved into a farmhouse and my nan and grandad were two doors away.”
Jackie and David have seen healthy trade during the Covid-19 pandemic, an exception amid a slow decline in business over the last few years.
One of the highlights for the shop, Robert recalled, was when “seven coaches” of customers arrived with "probably another two coaches on the roadside because it was that good”.
Robert believes the shop has fallen foul of a changing economic climate in recent years, and feels the village will lose a key part of its community.
“When Covid happened, we had a busy few months and I think that’s because people didn’t want to be in close proximity to each other in shops,” Robert added.
“It was like a community thing where people could meet up, rather than being more of a corporate business.
“It’s not the best-looking shop, but it still did what it needed to do.
“I think they would be proud of what they have achieved.”