One of Lisburn’s oldest and best known shops, Titteringtons at Bow Lane is set to close this weekend after nearly 80 years in business.
Owner Michael Kennedy will close the doors for the last time on Saturday January 31.
A successful sale has helped get rid of most of the remaining stock and the premises will be put up for sale by the end of the week.
Michael has been inundated with gifts and cards from clients in recent weeks.
The firm was first opened in March 1937, by brothers Cedric and Wilfred Titterington at Bow Street close to Brogan’s opticians.
At that stage, the premises, then a huge department store, would sell anything from wallpaper to delph and other fancy gift goods.
Michael, who studied electronics at Knockmore Training School had worked for Decca recording studios in London before returning home to be with his ill father.
It was while back in Lisburn that he got a job at Titteringtons which was initially just to last three months. He had intended to return back to London, but never did.
In 1978 the two brothers retired and Michael, who had worked in the store since 1969, then bought the shop over,
In 1971, the store was firebombed and the business moved into their present premises.
Michael who was 65 at his last birthday, will close the doors of his business with a heavy heart.
“The business is still a very profitable business and we have survived a lot,” he said. “ I feel it is the right time to go.
“I told my staff when I reached 65 I would retire. I was nearly waiting until I was 70 but my family persuaded me that I had given enough time to the business. I need to stop carrying washing machines up and down stairs!”
He said the reason for Titteringtons’ success was their customer loyalty.
“Since I announced my retirement customers have been coming in handing me gifts and telling me how much they are going to miss us and the store,” said Mr Kennedy.
“I think people got to know us and staff who are always very helpful - Helen was with us for 26 years, Darren 13 years and engineer Billy was with us for 15 years.
“I would work here six days a week often 12 hours a day with very little time for family life. I don’t think a lot of people would like to be working those kinds of hours these days. I would often still be working here til 8 or 9pm on a Saturday night.
“Customers were always guaranteed that we would always look after them.”
Michael, a father of two is planning a five week trip Down Under and looks forward to playing tennis and walking.