Family firm shuts up shop after 60 years

A FAMILY-RUN television shop closed its doors for the last time on Friday after 60 years in business.

Sunday, 8th June 2014, 5:30 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:53 am
S22503H14 John slater at the shop in Underdown Road, Southwick

Slater’s Radio and Television Ltd, in Underdown Road, has served the people of Southwick since the ’50s, but owner John Slater, 66, has finally decided to shut up shop, after working there for almost 50 years.

John, who lives in Lancing with his wife Joy, took over the running of the family business when his father retired in 1977.

“When I first started everything was valve radios and TVs with two channels,” he said

“The stuff I cut my teeth on was all valve equipment, big bulky stuff.

“Things have changed so dramatically over the years.

“The whole industry has changed, and unfortunately not for the better in my opinion.

“Supermarkets and the internet are really decimating small businesses, and not just this trade, but just about every other you can think of.”

John said personal service was gradually disappearing with the loss of small businesses.

“When we opened there was no Southwick Square, no Tesco, no Holmbush shopping centre,” he said.

“This road had at least 12 shops. It was on a main bus route through Southwick. This used to be a really busy little street.”

When Old Shoreham Road was widened in 1976, the top of Underdown Road was closed, forming a cul-de-sac.

“It had a huge impact, and we are one of the few that has survived,” said John.

“We have always had a lot of pride in our service and our customers have been incredibly loyal.”

John said his decision to close was partly due to a drop in trade and partly to a desire to start winding down, but he won’t be putting his feet up full-time just yet.

“I’ll still be working part-time from home,” he said.

“I’ll still be looking after my customers. I don’t want to just pack up and walk away from them.”

John said he was looking forward to spending more time with his wife and having the chance to ride his motorbike, but said he would miss his shop.

Speaking on Thursday, he said: “Tomorrow, when I lock the door and walk away for the last time, it’s going to be very emotional.

“It’s not a decision I have made lightly.”