end of an era

Chris Pettit closing his shop down. 487C
Chris Pettit closing his shop down. 487C

CLOSING the shop which bore his name above the door for 21 years will be a very sad moment for Chris Pettit.

On August 18, he will close his electronics store in Watergate, Grantham, marking the end of the Pettit trading name in the town for over 50 years.

It will also be a sad moment for the people of Grantham as they witness the closure of yet another independent business.

As he prepares to shut up shop, Chris reflects over the past two decades which have seen him make many friends as well as customers.

Father-of-three Chris, 57, said: “So much red tape and administration means that even working six days a week I get little time to do what I have always enjoyed the most, interacting with the customers.

“I now have to admit that I don’t have the enthusiasm I once had for the business and I promised myself that when I felt like that I would stop doing it.

“It’s been a very difficult decision as I contemplate how much I will miss my loyal customers and that there has been a store in Grantham selling consumer electronics with my name above the door since 1956.

“I have always believed that it should be health, family and business in that order and after 40 years of ignoring that rule I am now going to practice it.”

Pettit’s started out under Chris’s parents in New Beacon Road, Grantham. Success led to further stores opening elsewhere in town as well as in Heckington, Newark and Stamford. In September 1991, Chris branched out alone and opened the doors to his shop in Watergate.

Sadly, the business, a Panasonic specialist, has fallen victim to the changing habits of consumers. The internet has “killed” small businesses, said Chris, along with the tactics of big-name stores selling below cost price to lure people in. In addition, younger generations have a better knowledge of the workings of technology, rendering expertise like Chris’s less significant.

He said: “Business is very hard and I had to make a decision whether to carry on or close. It was a very difficult decision.

“It’s a very difficult industry to be in. This industry, probably more than any other, has changed because of the internet. You’ve had to go with it or be left behind.”

Chris chose not to go down that road, as personal service is of the utmost importance to him.

He said: “Online is against everything I hold dear. You can’t trade online and give a personal service.”

l Are you sad to see another small independent close? Do you wish Chris well? E-mail: comment@granthamjournal.co.uk