Southwold newsagent to shut up shop

HE has been a long-time advocate of newspapers, a loyal servant to his community and has earned national recognition for his professionalism.

But after nearly 25 years in the trade, John Purdy is winding down his business to embrace a life of retirement.

The 77-year-old has put Purdy's Newsagents of Southwold up for sale to allow him to spend more time with his family.

However, he admits the decision was a tough one, having spent years developing a business that has built a high reputation in the local community thanks to its a well-stocked shop and reliable home delivery service.

The newsagents on High Street has been put on the market for �750,000 with Suffolk estate agents Flick and Son.

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It comes after he was commended last year for his services to the industry when he scooped the Guardian Newsagent of the Year Award.

Mr Purdy, who lives at the property, said he hoped to continuing living in Southwold after the shop sold.

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He said: 'It takes a lot of coming to terms with when you decide you have had enough. If I was younger I would try to continue, but there comes a time when you have to stop.

'I would say to anyone who is considering going into the profession to think carefully about it. People used to jump to be a newsagent, but not now because people do not want to work 12 or 13 hour days – it's not easy.

But he stressed he had no regrets: 'I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have served the community and tried to provide people with what they wanted.

'The relationship with people is what I have enjoyed most. I have always tried to help wherever I can,' he added.

A special event was held at Southwold Red Lion on Monday last week when more than 50 people gathered together to recognise Mr Purdy's contribution to the town.

Despite this success, he admitted he was fearful for the future of fellow businesses following the arrival of big national chain stores in Southwold.

He said: 'I've got my doubts because Tesco and WH Smith have moved in here now. I'm not saying someone won't make a success of it, but it all depends on how they diversify their business.'

Mr Purdy moved to Southwold from Lowestoft when he was just eight years old after his mother married a fisherman in the area. Before becoming a newsagent, he spent 31 years in the construction industry, working for building company William Denny Ltd. He opened Purdy's Newsagent in 1987. Speaking about his plans for retirement, Mr Purdy said he planned to spend more quality time with his wife Patricia, 71, and their six children, and five grandchildren.

'We would just like a house where we can retire, take life easy and spend more time with the family,' he said. 'We have a two-year-old grandchild and she's a bit of a handful so we will be looking after her.'

The newsagents is described on property website as a 'Victorian town house with a long established and successful newsagent located in an excellent position in the centre of Southwold's Conservation Area and a key High Street location opposite Adnams Cellar and Kitchen and a near neighbour of the Post Office.

'The versatile accommodation offers potential to extend both the retail floor area and residential accommodation of the property.'

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