Popular Romford shop to close after 40 years in the town centre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 January 2017

Robby Bhandari second from left with staff Lesley Conio, Jan Smith and Derek Culver

Robby Bhandari second from left with staff Lesley Conio, Jan Smith and Derek Culver


A popular shop which has been open for about 40 years is thanking its customers for their loyalty as it closes down.

Robby’s, High Street, Romford, was known for selling “pretty much anything” according to manager Janet Smith.

She said: “I am going to miss all of our customers and the conversations that we have when they’re in here.

“We’re more like family than colleagues so it is really sad.”

Robby Bhandari, 63, started working as a teenager alongside his dad at WB Wholesalers in London before he earned enough money to branch out on his own and buy his first shop, Robby Cash N Carry in Romford High Street in the 1970s. He stayed for about 10 years.

The business, then renamed simply Robby’s, moved to South Street where it stayed put for another 12 years before moving back to the High Street for about 20 years.

From taking young employees, including one with learning difficulties, under his wing to delivering items to elderly residents’ homes for free, Robby has dedicated his life to helping others through his shop.

Mr Bhandari has confirmed that Robby’s will be closing due to factors including the rise in rent.

Janet said: “I started working here when I was 18 and I’m 56 now.

“He’s been more than a boss, he’s more like family, keeping my job open even when I went off to have my two children.”

Some customers have taken social media to express their upset at the shop’s closure, saying it would be a “shame” and how “very sad” they are to see it go.

Malcolm J on community forum Streetlife said: “Seems like it’s been there forever.

“The range of goods was fantastic, could always find stuff not available elsewhere.”

Janet said: “He is the most caring man you will meet and we are so sad to see the shop finally close after so many years of us working alongside each other.

“Our customers have helped to keep us open all this time and we are really thankful to them all.”

The shop is due to shut next month.

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