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‘Accidental shopkeeper’ goes to print

Author Author: Patrick Limming outside his shop in Holbeach with his book The Accidental Shopkeeper.  Photo (TIM WILSON): SG150814-112TW.

Author Author: Patrick Limming outside his shop in Holbeach with his book The Accidental Shopkeeper. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG150814-112TW.

The history of a Holbeach shop has been put into words by its owner after 40 years in charge.

Patrick Limming of J.W.Limming Ltd, Fleet Street, has written The Accidental Shopkeeper, a book about the garden and pet specialists from its early days in the 1960s to the present.

The shop was the dream of Patrick’s late father, Jack Limming and wife Anne who converted their living room into a supply centre for the Holbeach farming and growing industries.

Patrick said: “My father bought the house next door to his by accident and then turned the front room into a shop.

“Gradually, my father bought the rest of the street up like a game of Monopoly and he expanded the business all the way down Fleet Street.

“But it was very inefficient and after I took over the business in 1974, I built the shop we have now.”

J.W. Limming is one of three shops in Holbeach that serve the homeware and DIY (do-it-yourself) market, along with Hooks of Holbeach (also in Fleet Street) and Tonwood Home Hardware on the corner of Victoria Street and Chapel Street.

But Patrick said: “We all have our own niches but there’s no point in us all trying to fight each other because if we do our own business well, there’s no reason why we all can’t succeed in the town.

“Our speciality is gardening, chemical and pet products which we moved into because the area’s growing industry is a shadow of what it once was.

“As it subsided, we concentrated on the retail side a lot more and I still enjoy being a shopkeeper because I like meeting people and having banter with the customers.

“What I don’t like about running a shop is the bureaucracy, red tape and aggravation that goes with it.”

Patrick is fully behind the Guardian’s Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign which we launched in Feburary to help boost independent businesses in retail, catering and leisure throughout South Holland’s four towns.

The threat posed by internet shopping is of particular concern to Patrick who said: “It’s important for people to support their local businesses or they will go.

“We’re all hanging on in there with the support of our loyal customers, but the internet is becoming more of a problem to us.

“I realise it’s convenient but I would say to people ‘before you click that button, think about the high street’.”

The Accidental Shopkeeper costs £9.99 and is available from J.W. Limming or Bookmark in Spalding.

 

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