A popular shop in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary next week.
GW Hurley newsagents opened in 1919 at 20 The High Street and its owner, Colin Morris, is marking the shop’s big milestone.
Talking to Burnham-On-Sea.com, he said: “It is quite an achievement and we want to thank our customers.”
Colin looks back at his involvement with the shop with warmth: “I was born here in this building upstairs and it was my grandmother, Florence Gilbert Wesley Hurley, who started GW Hurley back in 1919.”
“It initially opened as a bric-a-brac shop until someone came in and asked if she’d consider selling newspapers, and she agreed to take it on.”
“I took over the shop 53 years ago and knocked out the back section and expanded the overall space.”
“The newspaper distributors asked if we’d take on a bigger distribution area stretching out towards Wells and including the countryside areas, which we did.”
“They later merged our newspaper area with Weston, and then let WH Smiths have it, so our business went from being small to big, then bigger, and then smaller again!”
“It was one of the reasons why we went into wider retail and bought the place across the High Street to sell toys, books and sports clothing, and then later the Salways DIY shop as well.”
Colin says trading conditions are a challenge, adding: “All High Streets are suffering across the country, but while some people say you can’t blame the local authorities, I personally think they haven’t got a clue. The councils have killed every High Street with some of the dearest parking charges.”
“Trading is very hard, but fortunately we have a lot of loyal customers and we thank them. That said, we have lost a lot of older customers over the last few years and many young people don’t buy newspapers any more because it’s all free through their phones. We keep ticking on, though.”
The store is marking the 100th anniversary on Friday 14th June with a day of celebration, to include birthday cake for customers.