MORE than 90 years of high street tradition are set to come to an end when a Stalybridge shop closes its doors.
But that does not mean the end of E Taylor and Son as it is moving more towards its commercial arm, which has some very big name clients.
And as he prepares to retire after 52 years, owner Peter says they will still look after their most loyal customers.
Based on the corner of Castle Street and Melbourne Street, the current store will soon be emptied out as a closing down sale gets started.
And while he will miss the day-to-day dealing with customers, Peter admits the way the retail landscape has changed brought the decision.
He said: “It’s a big decision and we’ve been trying to work out how we’ll do it.
“Over the last three or four years, it’s not really been viable because of the way retail’s gone in general.
“You can point your finger at many things but at the end of the day, there’s not enough footfall in Stalybridge for this type of shop.
“We’ve had some good staff but it’s not been paying it’s own way.
“My son Ian is very, very busy on the commercial side. We work for Mercedes and Jaguar and we’ve just worked for Ferrari in Wilmslow.
“That’s where the focus is moving and a new partner is coming in to take over from my wife Barbara and I.
“I feel sorry for all our customers, who say, ‘We always come to you for our bulbs because you always know what we want.’
“I feel sorry for them. You think, ‘Where are they going to go?’
“We’ve had some fantastic customers and we’ll still be supplying and fitting light fittings for them. We’ll still look after them.
“It’s just the shop isn’t viable any more – but ETS will carry on.
“The retail world has changed and shopping centres have had to change. Now we don’t have them, we have service centres.
“If you can’t get it on the Internet, it’s now in the town centre. Things like hairdressers, dog grooming parlours, nail salons. Anything you can get on the internet is slowly moving out of town centres.
“The internet rules. If Marks and Spencer and Debenhams can’t make a living, how can we?”
E Taylor and Son has had three sites in Stalybridge since it was founded in 1930 when, as Peter says, ‘Electricity was quite new.’
It has been in its store since 1973 and when it closes, the business will be based next door.
And as he approaches his 70th birthday, Peter admits he will still be involved in some way.
“I’ll still be a ‘consultant,’ he added with a glint in his eye. “People will still be ringing me up and I don’t think I can just stop and sit in a chair.
“I don’t want to just sit in a chair.
“Hopefully we’ll still be able to supply bulbs and light fittings. If someone rings up for something and we can get it, we will do.
“It’s a shame but things move on.”