Popular Holbeach hardware store J W Limming Ltd is likely to see the changing of the guard in the latter part of next year.
Patrick Limming (62) is ready to retire from the family business while Sam Fowler, a Royal Marine from Whaplode, wants to set up his Royals Gym on the site.
Sam was featured in the Spalding Guardian earlier this year when he took part in the World Drug Free Powerlifting Championships.
He has put in a planning application to change the use of the Fleet Street store to a fitness centre but was not available yesterday (Tuesday) to speak about his plans.
J W Limming Ltd was the dream of Patrick’s father Jack and mum Annie, who started small by converting a living room into a supply centre for the Holbeach farming and growing industries.
The shop opened in 1960.
Patrick started working full-time in the business when he was 17, taking it over in 1974.
In 2014, Patrick was in the news when he published The Accidental Shopkeeper, a book about the family business that became a garden and pet specialists.
Patrick says people keep asking him to write another book now he’s approaching retirement, although he’s not short of his own ideas.
He said: “I shall do exactly what I want to do exactly when I want to do it – so, if it’s a sunny day and it’s in the summer, then I shall tootle off to Donington Park and see what’s happening there.”
Patrick also hopes to spend a lot more time in France with his wife, Alice.
Running the shop has been more than a full-time job and he’s used to working weeks of 50-60 hours.
“It’s still considerably less than I used to do,” said Patrick. “In the days when we used to do a lot of strawberry punnets, I could do 70, 80 or 90 hours. I think I’ve done my share.”
Patrick is running down his stock and says there will be bargains as the shop nears its final closure date, expected to be in the latter half of next year. Although wishing Sam every success, Patrick has some sadness that Limming’s isn’t being sold as a going concern but says “retail isn’t top of everybody’s list to get into”.
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