Elm Park shop sends out thank you to customers as shopkeeper prepares to close after 30 years
15:48 13 January 2017
A retiring shop owner says the customers he has served for the past 30 years have not only become friends but family.
Mitch Patel, 58, who owns Cards & Gifts ‘R’ Us, Elm Parade, Elm Park, will be saying goodbye at the end of this month.
He and his wife Bina, will both be taking an early retirement and taking time to travel and enjoy themselves after a well-earned break.
“I would like to thank all the loyal customers who have kept coming into the shop,” Mitch said.
“I am going to miss the customer contact and the banter on a daily basis, they have become close friends and family.”
But despite that, Mitch says he does not envy shopkeepers who are just new into the job.
He said: “Being a shopkeeper is a very hard test, you have no social life. Yyour life is your business and your customers as you have to open for their convenience.
“The job is even harder now with internet sales taking over. It’s not just newsagents and convenience shops that are struggling, it’s all high street shops.”
But to say thank you to all those past and present, the Elm Parade shop will be holding a farewell party on January 28.
“This shop holds so many good memories and it’s where we raised our three children,” said Mitch.
“I’ve had around 100 members of staff throughout the time and so many different customers so I would like to say thank you by inviting everyone to a party at the shop.”
Although he is retiring, he has told customers they won’t be seeing the last of him as Mitch is a Hornchurch resident.
He is vowing to get on his bike and do the rounds as he settles into retirement life.