A family business synonymous with Holbeach for more than 50 years has been put up for sale.
Patrick Limming, owner of garden and pet supplies JW Limming, says the time for him to retire has passed.
He said: “There’s more to life than just working and I want to enjoy doing other things now.
“When my father died at 64 I promised myself I would retire at 60. I’m 61 now so I’ve already missed that target!”
The shop was first established at 17 Fleet Street in 1960.
Patrick’s father John (Jack) helped a friend by bidding up a four-bedroom house at an auction. It didn’t go completely to plan…Jack ended up being the highest bidder.
At the time, the family were living in Spalding Road. Much to the displeasure of Patrick’s mum Annie, who will be 100 next year, they were soon moving to the acquisition – and the seeds of a new business were sown.
Patrick, then aged 5, said: “The front room became a shop, the kitchen an office and there was stock up the stairs. Mum was a saint to put up with it!”
The shop offered a wide range including flower bulbs, fancy goods, and cigarettes and sweets. Its popularity quickly grew and Jack went on to buy three neighbouring properties, including Gordon Woodman’s electrical shop.
Incredibly, JW Limming was open every day from 7am to 7pm, and on Christmas Day 10am to 3pm.
When Jack died in 1977, Patrick, who had helped out since he was 12, was suddenly in charge of the business.
Patrick said: “At the age of 22 I had this dropped on me. Much of it then was horticulture and 90 per cent of the knowledge was in my father’s head so it was a bit of a learning curve, to put it mildly!”
However, as horticulture declined, the business focussed on pet and garden supplies, and has specialised in garden furniture.
With three other full-time employees, the business has always prided itself on personal service from staff with – as Patrick puts it – “a little bit of knowledge about what we’re selling”.
The current store opened in May 1986 after a high-profile three-year planning wrangle over the demolition of Georgian buildings.
Now, 30 years on and after almost 50 years’ involvement, Patrick has put the business, which includes a warehouse in Park Road, on the market for £235,000.
“I hope to sell it as a going concern as I’d like to see the staff employed,” he said.
“It’s been good to me but it needs someone with new ideas and lots of energy.
“I’d like to see JW Limming still represented in the town but that will be up to the new people.”