Hitchin’s Electronic Universe to close after 36 years

PUBLISHED: 08:27 13 February 2018

Bansibala and Surendra Kotecha are retiring and closing their shop Electronic Universe in Churchgate, Hitchin, after 36 years of business. Picture: Danny Loo

Bansibala and Surendra Kotecha are retiring and closing their shop Electronic Universe in Churchgate, Hitchin, after 36 years of business. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

Hitchin is to lose another fixture of the town centre this month, as a family-run electronics shop set up in 1982 is bid farewell.

Surendra and Bansibala Kotecha are retiring and closing their shop Electronic Universe in Churchgate, Hitchin, after 36 years of business. Picture: Danny LooSurendra and Bansibala Kotecha are retiring and closing their shop Electronic Universe in Churchgate, Hitchin, after 36 years of business. Picture: Danny Loo

Electronic Universe, in the town’s Churchgate centre, is to close at the end of the month with the retirement of mainstay Surendra Kotecha after 36 years.

Surendra, who set up the shop with his dad and three brothers, has moved with the march of technology from the Commodore 64 to today’s tablets as his family’s independent store outlasted high street giants like Currys, Dixons and Rumbelows in Hitchin.

“It’s sad, but I’m happy that I’m now 65 and have been married to the business for 36 years,” Surendra told the Comet.

“When we opened in 1982 there were six or seven other businesses like ours, and we’ve outlasted all of them – Currys, Dixons and Rumbelows – after starting from nothing. And when we first came in there weren’t any computers!

“We’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve still survived and our customers really rely on us for our expertise.

“I’d be surprised if anybody in our area has never been into our shop.”

It has been a true family affair at Electronic Universe over the years, with Surendra’s late father, his brothers, his wife and his sister-in-law all working there over the years.

The family set up a second, larger branch on an industrial estate in Wellingborough, near Northampton – but this has already closed its doors.

The original Hitchin site off Biggin Lane is set to close by the end of February, after a grand closing sale. It is unclear what will replace it in the slot owned by Churchgate landlords Hammersmatch.

Looking ahead to the future, Surendra said: “Now we’ll have time for things we haven’t been able to do, like going for long holidays and visiting family in different countries.

“A lot of our customers are very sad about us closing, but what can I do? We’re sorry to finish, and we are very grateful for all their support.”

Those wishing Surendra and the rest of the Kotecha family well have included Hitchin town centre manager Keith Hoskins, who told this newspaper: “Best wishes to Surendra Kotecha on a well-earned retirement in recognition of his long-standing service in Hitchin.

“His unique emporium will be missed by many.”

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