‘I’m giving up my market stall after 40 years because of Brexit’ says Stevenage shoe trader

Jim Conder

Jim Conder - Credit: Archant

A Stevenage shoe trader is hanging up his boots after almost 40 years because he doesn’t want to have to deal with the impact of Brexit.

Jim Conder

Jim Conder - Credit: Archant

Marshall Conder – known to almost everyone as Jim – has been trading at Stevenage’s Indoor Market since September 13, 1979, the same year Arsenal won the FA Cup final and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Unlike most workers, he didn’t retire at 65, but has carried on into his 80th year, continually amazing those who pop to the market to see him.

But now Jim has started a 50 per cent sale off his shoes to give people a chance to buy cheaply before he says the impact of Brexit might force prices for clothing through the roof.

He told the Comet: “I think it’s time now. I’m 80 next year and with what’s going on at the moment with Brexit and everything it’s only going to become more difficult.

“They are saying that prices for clothing and food are going to go up so the sale will give people a chance to buy before that happens.”

Jim who comes from Hitchin and joined the shoe trade in Knebworth aged 18 before setting up shop at the Oval in Stevenage, says the reason he has carried on way past retirement is simply that he enjoys the job.

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He said: “I’m not saying it isn’t getting more difficult. There’s always been ups and downs, but with other supermarkets coming in and new shops opening it is probably more difficult now. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of being in here.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, I should think I’m the oldest one in here now.”

Nadia Farhadi, who worked as a Saturday girl at Jim’s stall when she was 13 and whose dad Ali Farhardi still runs the shoe repair stall opposite – which will remain open as usual, said: “Jim’s amazing, even at his age he still climbs a 6ft step ladder. Everyone loves him and he’s got such a great sense of humour, he’s so honest. Working on the stall gave me some great experience to develop my career in retail administration,”

Jim, who has a son and a daughter, says he hopes to indulge his hobbies of fishing and bowling.

He added: “I would like to say a big thank you for all the support I’ve had over the years from the local community.”

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