Family ends 70-year association with Melton corner shop

It is the end of an era for a popular Melton corner shop today (Tuesday) as the Sage family sadly cut its ties with the business after running it for 70 years.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:08 pm
Richard and Ann Sage who have retired as owners of Craven Street Stores in Melton EMN-211130-154200001

Richard and Ann Sage say their customers have become more like friends over the years at the Craven Street Stores but they are looking forward to having more time to themselves in retirement.

Richard (74) took over the shop in 1984 after his mother, Betty, ran it from 1952, and he has seen a big rise in business since the premises was significantly extended 20 years ago.

His 72-year-old wife, Ann, has worked alongside him and both have enjoyed playing an important part in the community for generations of Meltonians who live south of the town centre.

Retiring Craven Street Stores owner, Richard Sage, hand over to new owner, Nandakumar Duraisamy EMN-211130-154221001

The couple went through the trauma of a violent robbery in 2017 in which a man armed with an axe struck Ann and left her needing stitches in a head wound.

Their customers helped them get over that ordeal.

Richard told the Melton Times: “People have become friends rather than customers over the years.

“People come in and say ‘I used to buy sweets here when I was a kid’.

“It’s the friendships you make over the years and being part of the community which we have enjoyed more than anything.

“We are sad to be leaving it behind but we won’t miss the early mornings.”

Richard’s father Ronald, who was a builder, developed polio and was unable to work so Betty bought the shop in the early 1950s.

There were three shops down there at the time, Miss Lane had the Post Office next door and Victoria Stores was also trading nearby.

Richard, a former Melton Senior Town Warden and now a feoffee with the town estate, worked at Thorn Lighting and decided to take over the shop from his mother after taking voluntary redundancy 37 years ago.

He recalled: “It was half the size in those days, it was so cramped. In 2000 we had a major extension which was definitely needed.”

The couple, who have three children and 10 grandchildren, have been touched by the messages and flowers they’ve received since word spread that they were retiring.

Ann added: “We leave with mixed feelings.

“It’s not a job, it’s a way of life.

“We’ve had some lovely employees over the years and we will miss our customers.

“But we are both looking forward to doing our own thing, going on a cruise and having a few holidays.

“Just going away for weekends has been a problem so it will be nice to be able to do that.”

The new owner of Craven Street Stores is Nandakumar Duraisamy, from Middlesex, and he hopes to build on the much-loved family business which has survived there for so many years.