THE heart of Cowbit will die this weekend when the garage, shop and Post Office shut for the last time, according to parish council chairman Trevor Tyrrell.
Thorpe’s Garage owners Derek Thorpe and his wife, Marnie, have tried and failed to find someone to take on the businesses at their premises in Barrier Bank, but feel now is the right time for them to step down and retire.
Mr Thorpe said: “We had somebody who was going to run the shop and the Post Office but they let me down at the last thing.
“We have no other options so we are closing this weekend.”
Thorpe’s Garage was founded in 1959 by Derek’s father, Albert, and Derek (67) has worked there for more than half a century since leaving school.
Mr Thorpe says his son Richard doesn’t want to continue trading on the site.
The couple, who currently employ three part-time staff, are going to advertise their premises for rent.
Mr Thorpe said: “We would like to thank our many loyal customers over the years.”
Of his retirement plans, Mr Thorpe said: “I am going to take it a bit easy for a start and then we will see.”
Coun Tyrrell said the Thorpe family had served the village for as long as many people could remember and it will be sad to see them – and their business – go.
He said: “I appreciate the Thorpe family want to retire, Marnie and Derek can’t go on forever.
“It will have a big effect on the village because we are going to lose the Post Office, the shop and the petrol pump.
“I think the heart of the village will die because that’s where people go for convenience and for a chat. It is a meeting place. It is very sad and it is a pity that somebody could not be found to take it over.”
Cowbit resident Jan Osborne shops at Thorpe’s for things like bread and milk and says its closure will inconvenience her and other villagers.
District councillor Anthony Casson said he hopes the Post Office will provide an “outreach” service in Cowbit to help villagers.