The shop window displays were renowned locally - an attractive focal point - especially at Christmas. Gifts of all descriptions were amassed for the window-shopper to stop and wonder at. Christmas trees also adorned the shop front, where the bedding plants were displayed during the summer. With the signature row of coloured lights above, this sight simply couldn’t fail to raise one’s spirits.
Mrs Pipe continued to supply her home-cooked ham, popular throughout the village. The home produce section expanded with Kath Milner’s home-baked Cornish Pasties, sausage rolls, and in season Christmas cakes, mince pies and marmalade. Although the shop was open daily from 8.30 to 6pm, closing only for lunch hour and on Sunday afternoons, such was the conviviality and patience of the Pipes that they found themselves at the mercy of out-of-hours customers knocking on their back door -even on a Christmas Day!
Above. Within the store, Christmas 1995 (C Pipe).
The family bungalow in Church Street, started in 1970, was finally completed and ready for occupation in 1980. There were some benefits to be gained from living away from the shop. Sadly, it wasn’t long after that Sid’s health began to decline. The electrical side of the business closed in 1981 and Sid died in 1984.
The shop continued to prosper and an off-licence was obtained. Plans were drawn up to expand the shop floor and modernise the premises. The work was completed in December 1985. Sylvia did not embrace the new automated till with unalloyed enthusiasm. When it came to totalling the bill she’d had years of practice with a scrap of paper and a biro. She avoided new protocol where possible, sharing a surreptitious and knowing smile with customers and whispering ‘Don’t tell Colin’!
With the closure of Milner’s shop in 1986 additional customers stepped over the threshold. Business was thriving and felt secure, but not for very long. The big supermarkets in surrounding towns were beginning to have an impact. More villagers were choosing to shop at Tesco, only using the local stores for convenience items. By the mid 1990’s the shop lacked sufficient custom to sustain it. Having thrived for 50 years its doors closed for the final time in February 1996.
Above. Taken on the final trading day - February 1996. From left to right: Sally Collins, Colin Pipe, Jane Page
(nee Milner) and Sylvia Pipe.