New era for real family business

PUBLISHED: 16:09 27 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:23 10 June 2010

SUNDAY, JULY 27: IT is the end of era for one family who have been at the heart of Topsham for nearly a century. Nigel and Lorraine Mortimore shut the doors of their family-run business, D Mortimore Newsagents on the High Street, for the last time and handed the keys over

IT is the end of era for one family who have been at the heart of Topsham for nearly a century.Nigel and Lorraine Mortimore shut the doors of their family-run business, D Mortimore Newsagents on the High Street, for the last time and handed the keys over to the new owners last week.The confectionary and tobacconists was first opened in 1921 by Nigel's grandmother in the front room of her cottage after her husband died during the great 'flu epidemic.The shop has remained in the family since then and was only closed for a short while before Nigel and Lorraine decided to take it over in 1997.She said: "We came down with Nigel's brother and were all going to sell, but at some point that weekend we decided to go for it and buy the place."It is not a a just job but being part of the community - I was very emotional when I shut the doors for the last time. For the first time I have nowhere to work!"The shop has been extended and re-fitted but still remains a central part of residents' lives and they make it a hub for gossip and catching-up with old friends, although the owners have suffered a funny incident or two. Lorraine said: "Nigel usually works on a Sunday morning to give me a break."One Sunday I was working when a chap walked in and stood there with nothing on but frilly knickers and a T-shirt. "He bought some cigarettes and left but kept coming back scaring my little old ladies until I had to call the police!"The family business has now been handed over to mother and daughter, Julia and Rachael Hunter, who will be carrying on the traditions of the shop with a few new ideas of their own.The Mortimore family will stay in Topsham and are looking forward to living a life without having to open the shop at 5am every day.

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