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End of an era for Newmarket newsagents as shop is sold

Sweet retirement (11318397)
Sweet retirement (11318397)

One of Newmarket’s oldest shops has changed hands bringing to an end nearly 60 years of family ownership.

Sweets newsagents in All Saints Road has been owned by Jane and David Sweet since 1968 and before that was run by Jane’s parents Bob and Lily Stittle for 10 years.

But now Jane, 70, and David, 75, have decided to call it a day and have sold the business to Sivapragasam Haran who will continue to sell newspapers but as part of a convenience store, which will still bear the Sweet name.

“We wish him all the luck in the world,” said Jane who admits to mixed feelings at finally giving up the job she has done for the whole of her adult life.

“I will miss the people, those who have worked for us and our customers, most of all. I can’t begin to count how many paper boys and girls we’ve employed over the years,” she said. “I cried a lot last week, but on Saturday, once everything was signed and sealed it was like euphoria. I kept thinking ‘we’re free’”.

“What I won’t miss is all the organisation which had really got too much plus the late nights and early mornings. And hopefully I will start sleeping properly again which I haven’t done since the shop went on the market two years ago.”

As well as a family business, the flat above the shop was also Jane and David’s home for many years until they moved to Soham and was where they raised their children Helen Gossage, 47, who works in medical research, and Mark, 44, who works for Rolls Royce in Chesterfield.

Although it has an All Saints Road address, the shop extends round the corner into Palace Street. The Rothschild family, who owned Palace House and the former Palace House Stables, were also the Sweets’ landlords until the Wood Green animal charity bought a block of property from them as an investment in about 1985 and Jane and David subsequently became the owners ten years later.

The couple are looking forward to spending more time at their beach hut at Old Hunstanton and with their grandchildren, Amy and Isabella, who live locally and Rowan and Evelyn who live in Derbyshire.