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Family store Govers set to close on Barnstaple's Joy Street

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

  • CLOSING UP: Mike and Jackie Gover outside the family store. Picture: Rob Tibbles. Ref: BNRT20130221E-006_C

  • PAST TIMES: The shop in Market street 75 years ago.

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A GENERATIONS-old Barnstaple business is set to close this year, with the owner planning a quiet retirement.

Govers, the footwear, clothing and workwear store in Joy Street, will close once owner Mike Gover finds a taker for the store's freehold, after he and his wife Julie decided to take life a little easier.

The store first opened in Market Street in 1937, when Mike's father Bill set up shop.

After moving on to another Market Street property, and then to two separate sites in Bear Street, Govers found a permanent home in Joy Street 40 years ago.

Mike, who took over the running of the store 34 years ago, when Bill retired, is sad to see the shop shutting.

"Dad would have been 100 this month, so it will be a bit sad," he said.

"It's one of the hardest things I've had to do."

Mike and Jackie do have two sons, but "retail's not for either of them", says Mike, as the pair run their own electrical business.

"They feel a bit bad about it, but you can't force someone to do something that's not in them," said Mike.

Mike has some fond memories of the shop.

"I'm going to miss this place, and it will be a bit of a wrench," he said.

"But I've got my memories and we do get some funny incidents.

"Recently a lady came in complaining that we'd sold her two left wellies for her son.

"When we had a look at them we found one had her son's name in and the other had some other lad's name in.

"No wonder they had been uncomfortable."

For more information about the shop call Tony Foster at Webbers on 01271 347888.

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