23rd Oct, 2016

Long-serving hardware shop owner prepares to pull down the shutters and welcome a life of semi-retirement

Aisling Kiely 29th Sep, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A LONG-SERVING hardware shop owner from Solihull will be pulling down the shutters for one last time on Sunday (October 2) as he welcomes a life of semi-retirement.

Barry Marcus, who fell into into the hardware business by accident after being made redundant from a job as a senior buyer, decided to purchase his own stall at the indoor market in Solihull to sell small household goods.

But after six years’ trade, the now 79-year-old was forced to pack up and move elsewhere after plans to build Touchwood Shopping Centre were given the go-ahead.

The Hall Green Resident took the opportunity to open his own shop – similar to Arkwright’s shop in the TV comedy show Open All Hours – closer to home on Baldwins Lane and has never looked back.

The Observer’s Aisling Kiely took a trip to So Many Things to see hear Barry’s thoughts on retirement.

He said: “I’m not used to the word retirement as it makes me a little emotional.

“The past 19 years have gone very very quickly and it’s starting to make me feel sad that the days are counting down.

“My customers have become family over the past years and I’ve received a number of cards with some very nice things said.

“I saw a lady walk past the other day and she told me she used to visit the shop when she was was a child and now she’s wheeling her own ones to school now.

“It really is a shop which has seen through the generations.”

The father-of-three has worked seven days a week to ensure all of his customers get what they need at the drop of the hat, but claims putting the key in the door is a pleasure everyday.

He has even taken hot food and drink to regular customers who have been restricted to their homes in the bad winter months.

Bob May, a loyal customer who has visited the shop for years, said: “Barry has been marvellous over the years and he’s helped me out no end.

“When I’ve wanted something and couldn’t get it anywhere else, I would drive all the way up here and Barry would always have it.

“I don’t know what we are going to do now – all I know is that we’re going to be absolutely lost.”

Despite shutting up shop, Barry isn’t ready to pack up his tool box just yet and has plans to run a similar business from the comfort of his home to help out his loyal customers.