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Owners of a Clare hardware shop retire after 18 years at the helm




A long-standing hardware store in Clare, popular among some Haverhill shoppers, has closed its doors this month, after the husband-and-wife owners called time on their 18-year tenure at the business.

David and Jenny Sleath, proprietors of Hudgies Hardware in High Street, confirmed they have brought forward their planned retirement by a few months, after anticipating difficulty trading in the present environment, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The couple have placed the business on the market, stating they have been successful since taking over the property in August 2002, but, after so many years of hard work, it was time to call it a day.

David and Jenny Sleath have retired a little earlier than planned due to the impact of the coronavirus.
David and Jenny Sleath have retired a little earlier than planned due to the impact of the coronavirus.

critical front-line staff working in care homes, children's homes and people’s own homes can continue to give care and support to Suffolk's most vulnerable residents.

It marks a second retirement for David, who turns 70 this year, having moved to Clare following a 30-year career in corporate banking. He initially intended to work in hardware primarily as a way to keep busy.

“I certainly never intended to do it for 18 years,” he said. “It has been tremendously successful.

“It has far exceeded my expectations when I first started off. Clare has been very kind to us, despite the challenges. Retail isn’t easy, but, if you work hard, you can make it a success.

“It’s difficult to call a halt to something that you enjoy and is financially successful. It has been very rewarding, from a job satisfaction and financial point of view, but our family were keen for us to retire.

“We’ve been working 51 weeks a year for about 18 years, so we have not had time for holidays. Our lives have been driven by running the shop.

“We had planned to retire in June, and we were in a wind-down phase, when all the virus business erupted, so it was a matter of bringing the retirement date forward.”

Although the shop has now closed, with a notice on the front door thanking customers for their support over the year, David indicated they still have some inventory to sell and may trade by appointment only.


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