End of an era as town grocer shuts

Sue Sellar,left and Kay Stanbury,right,of Cantells,Winslow which is closing down.'1202113M-A344
Sue Sellar,left and Kay Stanbury,right,of Cantells,Winslow which is closing down.'1202113M-A344

THE end of this month will see the end of an era for Winslow, when the town’s last independent grocer shuts up shop.

Cantells grocers has been on the High Street for roughly 100 years.

Manager Sue Sellar, aged 69, is retiring at the end of January, after 54 years working in the shop, ever since she left school.

Joining the store in 1958, she became manager about 10 years later.

In 1973, Gilbert Cantell offered her the lease.

“And I’ve been here ever since,” she said.

Sue has seen a few changes over the years in the business.

“We had a bicycle boy deliver in the evenings when I first started,” she rememnbers.

Now Sue herself delivers to about a dozen customers on a Friday afternoon.

“A lot of people can’t get out and carry so well,” said Sue.

“They do appreciate it.”

“It’s the personal service people enjoy,” she added.

One of the biggest changes over the years has been the advent of modern refrigeration.

“It’s made an awful lot of difference to keeping things fresh,” said Sue.

The shop still has the old marble slab shelving where meat used to be laid out, before Sue’s time.

But she still remembers weighing up lard and bags of sugar and dried fruit.

“We used to have a whole side of a pig hanging in the cellar for bacon,” she said.

“I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to lift it now.”

Sue is retiring in good health and looks forward to more time for gardening and travelling.

“Coming 70 this year, you think there are things you want to do,” she said.

“But I will miss the company, the people you’ve known for years and get to chat to.”

Retiring alongside Sue is Kay Stanbury, aged 64, who has worked there for 30 years.

For the last 10 years, it’s just been the two of them in the shop, and Kay said: “It’s been really good. We get on ever so well. Sue’s not like a boss – she’s more like a friend.

“People say: ‘Now what are you two giggling about? We could hear you right up the street!’

“It’s ever so sad – for the last 30 years this has been my second home.”

Now things are winding down at the Cantells.

“It’s our last week of deliveries next week,” said Kay.

“Then unfortunately it’ll be just selling stuff off.

“It’s the end of an era really. Cantells has been here so many years.

“But in this climate the supermarkets are taking over.”

The shop’s owner, Timothy Cantell, has indicated that the shop will be sold.