This is going to be a very modern piece in more ways than one, but first, the history.
Roy Stephens, long-standing member of the Yorkshire Independent Grocers' Association, had run a store on the same parade in Garforth, Leeds, for 40 years. He retired a bit early due to health issues and called me fours days before in July.
Was he pleased to be going? Not a bit of it. "I'm sad to go," he says, "but we're still here for as long as it takes to get the new people settled in. They are a lovely couple."
They are Santoak and Amandeep Heer, and the interesting thing here is that Santoak was a lecturer in law and Amandeep a nurse.
When so many Asian retailers' children are departing the family business for professional careers, here is a family ploughing the opposite furrow.
Even more interesting is the fact that Roy has his own appreciation society, created by kids. "I've got a website on Facebook," Roy tells me. "It's been put together by kids past and present who know the store. I've always worked well with kids."
I went for a surf (it's the only kind I can do) around the 'Roy's Appreciation Society' site and here's just a taster
of the comments.
Rachel Roberts writes: "A classic Roy moment. Roy, have you got green food colouring? No, but I could sell you blue and yellow."
Haulwen Danks writes in the Roy's Famous Quotes section: "I've just sold my last one" (when Roy hasn't got something in stock and probably hasn't had it in for weeks); or "This film is very popular" (when advising customers on choosing DVDs to watch... what you should know is that Roy hasn't seen a film for years).
And a cheeky Rob Kelly from Leeds sums it all up with: "I f***ing love Roys. Simple. The smallest shop in the world, but no matter what you ask for, he has it!"

Topics