For only the third time in its 180-year long history, a Diss specialist hardware and cookware shop is up for sale.
John and Julie Maskell, of Larter and Ford, hope to sell their business as a going concern in order to retire.
Established in 1832 as Aldridge Bros, a fire in 1938 led the Market Hill business to be sold to Larter and Ford who reopened it in 1940, selling it on to Clarence Curson in 1961.
Mr Maskell has been a familiar face behind the counter for 46 years. He started work there in 1966, having got married in 1965 to Mr Curson’s daughter, Shelagh, who was already working in the shop.
The couple took over the reins in 1971 when Mr Curson retired, and ran the shop together until Shelagh’s death in 1984.
Mr Maskell’s second wife, Julie, later joined him in the business, notching up 25 years herself.
Larter and Ford is renowned in the town for being able to supply almost anything to anyone and Mr Maskell is proud of the heritage of the business and itsservice focus.
“In this age of internet sales and 24/7 retailing, we’re proud to continue as a thriving business,” he said. “That’s because our customers come first. We know what our customers want when they come into the shop, and more often than not we have it in stock.”
Under Mrs Maskell’s influence the business has evolved to become a specialist cookware retailer as well as a traditional hardware shop.
“Like all other high street retailers we have to compete with the internet, but despite that our sales are actually increasing, particularly on the cookware ranges,” she said.
The business is being offered for sale by TW Gaze and Mr and Mrs Maskell would be happy to accommodate a handover period to help the smooth transfer of the business. For details visit www.twgaze.co.uk