A FAMILIAR face is about to disappear from Uppermill’s ever evolving High Street.
After a quarter of a century trading owner Graham Dean is currently overseeing a closing down sale at Pet Pal’s.
He retires with a warning about the village’s chronic lack of parking but with happy memories of his time behind the counter and on his shop doorstep where he always passed the time of day with locals and visitors.
“I came to Uppermill about a year before Tony Blair turned up in Uppermill (1995) for a visit,” says 65-year-old Harpurhey born Graham who lives in Dobcross.
“I remember someone saying he’d just landed in a helicopter and was having a walk about in the park. So, I went to have a look.
“I’d previously worked the markets and would travel all over. Wrexham was one of the busiest but it was hard work.
“So, when this place (a former wool shop) became available, I thought it would be easier and make more sense.”
Graham has seen plenty of people and businesses come and go in his 25 years including the former village petrol station and garage opposite his shop, now occupied by Warburton Court.
“I used to see a weasel running across the forecourt,” he laughed. “It would go round to the pond at the back and come back with a fish in its mouth.”
But Graham believes the closure of the Spar store in 2016 and lack of nearby parking has contributed to slower trade and fewer customers.
“Having the Spar car park shut for two years hasn’t helped,” he admitted. ”People would drive in and one of the first things they saw was me and this shop.
“People want to park. They don’t want to walk with lots of shopping. That’s why supermarkets are always busy because there are places to park.”
Walking his own dogs will help fill Graham’s retirement time. Until then he continues to sell off stock before the legal formalities of the shop’s sale is completed.
So, if you want to pick-up a bargain and wish him well Graham can be found at Pet Pals, High Street, Uppermill.