Family owned Fenland jewellers to close after 99 years - but it will be back
Well-loved March jewellers HR Mallett & Co is set to close its shutters for the last time later this month after almost 100 years of trading.
But customers need not be worried as the shop will be re-opening just a couple of weeks later, under new ownership but with a familiar name - Malletts.
The shop is currently owned by brothers Trevor and Roger Richmond and their wives Dot and Gill, but the quartet, have decided it is time to shut up shop and fully retire and so have sold the business - however it will remain in the family with Roger's oldest son Gary and his partner Linzi taking it on.
Gill explained: "We decided it was time to sell up just before the pandemic hit, and of course that put paid to those plans. We have managed to keep going throughout all the lockdowns, keeping all the staff on, although they did have to go on to reduced hours.
"We had originally intended to keep going to the 100th anniversary of the business opening, which would be next year, but we have now decided not to do that.
"As I said we put the business on the market with a specialist estate agent just before the pandemic, but since then our eldest son Gary and his partner have decided to buy the building and open their own business - which will be very much like the H R Mallett & Co everyone knows, but it will simply be called Malletts - which is what everyone calls it anyway."
H R Mallett & Co was opened in Broad Street in 1930 by Herbert Reginald Mallett, known locally as Reggie, who had previously launched the business in 1923 in the Palace Buildings at the top of Broad Street.
Douglas Richmond joined Reggie in the shop as an apprentice as a young man, and after the war he returned and later became a partner.
Douglas's sons Trevor and Roger both joined the business as apprentice watchmakers when they left school and following the death of their father in 1976, at the age of 57, both sons, along with their mother, continued running the business.
They have been linked with the business ever since - although they have both retired from working in the shop.
Gary, Roger’s eldest son, joined the business in 1984 and after Trevor and Roger retired, it continued under his management working alongside Jane Cousins.
Gill, who started her working life as a Saturday girl in the shop, which is where she met Roger, said all the Richmond children and grandchildren have worked as Saturday boy or girl at one time in the Broad Street store.
In fact Roger's daughter Vikki like Gary still works in the shop, she has worked as a part time assistant since having her son and granddaughter Lydia Richmond, 17, is in fact the current Saturday girl.
Gill said: "It is sad in some ways that the shop is closing and that H R Mallett & Co will cease to exist after 99 years of trading, but it is also wonderful that a third generation Richmond is taking on the building and opening a new version of Malletts."
Roger, who was also part of the March on-call fire service for many years, added: “It will be sad to close. We have much appreciated the support of all our customers and thank them all for their loyalty to us.
“We have had a difficult time during Covid but managed to survive through it.”
HR Mallett & Co will close its doors for the last time on Saturday March 26 and Malletts will then open under Gary's ownership on Wednesday, April 6.
Roger added: “There will be a continuation of all repair services, and much more including gold buying and watch battery fitting.
“There will be lots of new lines added to the selection of goods for sale.
“We hope the town will give Gary and Linzi their support in the years to come, as we don’t want to become a town of empty shops.”