Letchworth’s The Shoe Box changes hands after 43 years in the family

Terry Dear has now retired after handing over to new manager Gary Warriner, Picture: Tom Hardy

Terry Dear has now retired after handing over to new manager Gary Warriner, Picture: Tom Hardy - Credit: Archant

The boot is now on the other foot for the owner of a Letchworth shoe repair store, who is retiring after 43 years in the business.

Terry Dear’s father opened The Shoe Box back in 1974, and it has remained in the family ever since.

But having taken over the running of the store alongside his mother after his father’s death, Terry has now decided to retire and pass the baton on to someone else.

Terry, who has been the sole owner of the shop since his mother’s death in 2003, has seen a great deal of change since first working under his father – and oversaw The Shoe Box’s move in 2009 from The Wynd to Leys Avenue due to redevelopment of the former.

The 70-year-old believes that independent shops such as his offer a service to the community and are of great value to town centres.

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Keen to reassure loyal customers and Letchworth shoppers that rumours of the business closing down are not true, Terry said: “The new manager will be potentially bringing in some services that we do not currently offer such as vehicle cleaning.

“I’m glad to be keeping the business going for a long time. The primary reason is to provide the services that comes with it. Shoe repairs brings people into the town centre. If businesses like this close down then people would have no reason to go into town anymore.

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“We’ve got hundreads of customers that we have had over the years and the aim is the keep them happy.

“I’m quite excited about retiring. It’s something I will have to get used to, though.”

Terry complete the handover to new owner Gary Warriner on Monday.

Letchworth town manager Tom Hardy told the Comet: “The Shoe Box is one of many independent businesses that has stood the test of time in Letchworth.

“Town centres have changed dramatically in recent years, mainly down to the relentless rise of internet shopping. Those that have survived pride themselves on their regular customers and consistent dedication to provide an excellent service and high quality goods.

“Terry is no exception and has worked hard to sustain the successful business he has grown. It is now time for him to pass the baton on. and Gary is determined keep this successful business thriving.”

The town also saw the opening of new XO café on Station Forecourt at the weekend, adding to the Letchworth’s repertoire of local businesses.

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