Daventry store owner sells up but won't retire just yet

Joan Turley opened her shop in Sheaf Street in September 1983
Joan Turley opened her shop in Sheaf Street in September 1983

The 79-year-old owner of a haberdashery and curtain shop who is selling up after 35 years says there are no plans for retirement just yet as she'll continue working as a curtain-maker.

Joan Turley had always enjoyed sewing, knitting and making her own curtains and crafts so when there was talk of redundancies at the firm she was working for, Ford Motor Company, it was the impetus she needed to set up on her own, doing something she loved.

She opened her shop in Sheaf Street on September 4, 1983 and never looked back.

Joan said: "I remember feeling very apprehensive on the first day but we had a really good day.

"There was lots of interest in the shop and I slowly grew the business over the years.

"I've still got customers who I've had from the beginning.

"Over the last 10 years I've actually been making curtains for people for the second time. Daventry has been very good to me."

Joan took on an assistant, Ruth Payne, three months after opening and Ruth has remained with her the whole time.

Joan said one of the biggest challenges came with the recession in the 1970s but she managed to weather the storm by leasing part of the shop to someone else to help her pay the rent.

She spent 25 years in her first premises before relocating to her current location in Sheaf Street after deciding to wind things down as she approached retirement age.

In recent years, Joan reduced her hours so she has only been working two days a week in the shop.

The seamstress said the business had kept going for so long because of the focus on customer service. Joan said: "I think putting the customers first has been the key.

"If you're not pleasing the customer they won't come back - they'll vote with their feet.

"You also need a bit of luck in business as well as hard work."

The shop will close on September 15 but a local business owner is looking to buy the haberdashery and wool part of the company and move it to new premises.

Both Joan and Ruth will continue as self-employed curtain-makers.

"It will be very strange getting up in the morning and not going into work. I'll miss the feedback from customers," Joan said.