John and Julie Maskell who own Larter and Ford in Diss have put the business up for sale so they can retire.

Long running Norfolk shopkeepers set to retire

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
11.50 AM

For the last 30 years, John and Julie Maskell have been a familiar face to shoppers and visitors to a Norfolk town while running a hardware and cookware store.

But now the couple are planning to retire from running Larter and Ford, in Market Hill, Diss due to age and the premises has been put on the market through estate agents T W Gaze for sale as a going concern.

Mr Maskell, 69, said: “I am in my 70th year, so I thought my time had come. However, I have really enjoyed my time here and it is only because of age that I am retiring.

“I can remember during the 1960s when you had the power cuts and only had electricity at certain times during the day, but we continued to help the public.

“I think the secret is in offering the right product when people want it. My work here has given me a nice living and a good standard of life.”

The shop used to be an iron foundry called Aldridge Brothers in the 19th century before becoming Larter and Ford in 1940.

In 1961, Clarence Curson bought the premises and ran it with his daughter Shelagh, who was Mr Maskell’s partner at the time.

After Shelagh died, Mr Maskell married his second wife Julie, who now also runs the shop with her husband.

The retiring businessman is a keen sports coach, teaching athletics at the City of Norwich club, while he has also been actively involved with other sports, such as cricket, squash and golf.

The couple have four children- Oliver, 21, a Cambridge University student, Katie, 25, a Lloyds Bank manager, Caroline Rudge, 40, also a Lloyds Bank manager and Rachel Bowen, 42, a Tesco employee- and two grandchildren.

Oliver Chapman, a partner in commercial property at T W Gaze, said: “I was very pleased to be asked by John and Julie to find a buyer for their business, and can well appreciate that after more than 40 years’ service it’s time to hand over the reigns to a new generation. The faces may change but I’m confident that the name Larter and Ford will carry on.”

The shop owners were not anticipating any redundancies as part of the sale.