A village store’s 174 year history ended when it was closed last Friday (March 21).
Naomi Sharrod, 27, had taken over Thurlow Stores and post office with husband Ray, 40, to prevent it closing after the former postmaster retired at the end of 2011.
However Naomi, who has lived in the village for 12 years, struggled to make ends meet during the last year, despite Thurlow Estate owners the Vestey’s allowing them to run the shop rent free since last summer as they too hoped to retain the institution that has been open since 1840.
The store’s closure sees Naomi lose her job along with two other full time staff and three part time employees.
“I felt gutted – it’s soul destroying actually,” said Naomi.
“The last customer through the door was an 88 year old man who’d used the shop twice daily for the last 38 years, and not being able to provide the village with that service is soul absolutely destroying.
“We’ve tried everything we can do, and have even had the shop rent-free.
“Other people are gutted too but unfortunately we just haven’t had enough trade to continue.
“I think this is a sign of the modern world.
“We were doing fine until the road from Withersfield was closed for a week before Christmas, then after that we were without power for three days because of the storm and then there were traffic lights outside for nine days so all of that has just had a knock on passing trade and people have got used to going elsewhere.
“We’ve exhausted every conceivable ides to keep open – free delivery seven days a week, extended opening hours, but there’s just not enough use.
“You can now sit at home in your pyjamas and use Tesco.com and get your shopping tomorrow without leaving the house.
“We’d like to say thank you to the Thurlow Estate and all our customers and couldn’t be more grateful for the time we’ve had.”
The couple also run Thurlow Garage.
They have four children, with Finlay, seven, and Dylan, five, both at Thurlow Primary School, and Amelia and Lily, both four, at Happy Days Pre-school in Stradishall.
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, March 27) Echo.