The end of an era for prominent Horncastle business

Keith Gosling outside Achurch and Sons in the town's Market Place.
Keith Gosling outside Achurch and Sons in the town's Market Place.

It’s a name that has been synonymous with Horncastle for more than 130 years.

However, the ‘shop closed’ signs will go up at Achurch and Sons Hardware Store within weeks - paving the way for the arrival of a Costa Coffee outlet in the town.

The current format of Achurch’s has been run by Keith Gosling and business partner David Spratt for the last 32 years.

They originally started in rented premises in the High Street but moved to the Market Place after 12 months and have been a part of Horncastle’s fixtures and fittings ever since.

Mr Gosling celebrated his 70th birthday last year and together with his business partner he is keen to enjoy a hard-earned and overdue retirement.

The pair tried to sell the business as a ‘going concern’ but the building’s future lies with Costa Coffee who have permissions in place to convert the premises into a 90- cover coffee house.

Mr Gosling told the News: “It will be sad to leave after 32 years but as they say, all things must come to an end.

“We’ve enjoyed it. We’ve had tremendous support and a lot of our regulars aren’t just customers, they are good friends.

“That’s what I will miss the most - the friendships ...but you can’t go on for ever. The sale has gone through.”

As the ‘shop face’ of the business, Mr Gosling has been getting up at 5.45 for those last 32 years - to make sure the shop is ready to open .

He admits he will find it difficult to change the early morning starts but is looking forward to travelling abroad and spending time doing things he wants.

He adds: “Running your own business is a big commitment and it is difficult taking time off.

“It will be nice to think - what would I like to do today?”

Mr Gosling explained the expansion of out-of-town outlets and the internet had affected the business .

However, he stressed it was still a successful venture and attracted customers from all over Lincolnshire and beyond.

He added: “People like to come into a shop and talk to someone. You don’t get that on the internet.

“It (trade) has been difficult over the last few years - not just for us but for high streets generally. However, I think they will have their time again.

“I was born and bred in Horncastle. It’s a fantastic town. I’m very lucky to live and have worked here.”

Mr Gosling thanked customers and ‘fantastic’ staff members.

Achurch is holding a retirement sale.

It is expected work will start on the Costa outlet immediately after the pair have moved out.