Express & Star

Village greengrocers to close up shop after 54 years selling fruit and flowers

A beloved village shop that has kept Shropshire stocked with fresh fruit and flowers for over 50 years will close this month.

Cartwrights in Albrighton will close at the end of June. Pictured: Jayne Houghton and Mike Pitchford from Albrighton And District Civic Society with shop staff and civic society members

Cartwrights Flowers and Greengrocers in Albrighton was set up back on November 18, 1968, by couple Margaret and Bryan Cartwright.

More than half a century later, at the end of June this year the familiar sight of flowers and fruit will disappear from its home at 14 High Street as the second-generation greengrocer looks forward to retirement.

The couple's daughter, Jayne Houghton, 63, has been running the greengrocer since her father died in 1998. Until 2019, Margaret - then in her 80s - continued to operate the florists six days a week.

In 2019 the 'village fixture' was rewarded by the parish council for 50 years of service to the town.

At the time, Mrs Cartwright said she was "very emotional" to be honoured, and praised the "lovely village" and its kind residents for supporting the business for half a century.

Mrs Cartwright died just a couple of months after her retirement when Jane took over the running of both sides of the shop.

Jayne Houghton with Mike Pitchford of Albrighton and District Civic Society

Mrs Houghton, who remembers her Saturdays spent helping out her parents in the shop, worked as a nursery nurse before returning to the family business after the birth of her second child.

While she is looking forward to retirement, she said she will miss the community feel of the village.

Mrs Houghton said: "I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family, but we'll be very sad to leave the village.

"The shop has a lot of lovely customers. Many of them just pop in for a chat, a lot of people have said it's more a community hub than a shop - it's part of the community."

The Albrighton Civic Society visited staff at the shop on Thursday to present Mrs Houghton with a certificate of appreciation and note the business's contribution to the village for the last 54 years.

Peter Woodman, chairman of Albrighton and District Civic Society, said it was an honour to celebrate one of the towns cornerstones.

Mr Woodman explained: "It's been a notable mainstay of the village for many years, particularly during the lockdown when people didn't want to travel to the bigger supermarkets.

"For many years they've provided many of the flowers and wreaths for celebrations and funerals at the church that's only about 300 yards from where the shop is.

"It's a great loss, it always is when a well established and well loved shop closes down like this. But it's more than a shop, it's an institution really."