A business which has served Horsham for nearly 40 years has paid tribute to its customers.
Bedford Sports in Lambs Farm Road is closing at the end of November as partner Fran Bedford retires.
The store, which opened in 1980 as The Sussex Darts and Trophy Centre, has served Sussex since 1980.
Fran said: “I will be a little sad about it. We have built up some great friendships with people who have been coming to us for 30 plus years.
“We thought it was time to call it a day. I’m quite sad for the people that have now got to find somebody else to do their work.
“There aren’t many of this type of shop left. We’re trying to do everything we can to find them somebody.”
Fran told the County Times she is retiring as she approaches her 70th birthday due to the physical nature of the job.
She said: “You’re standing most of the time, you’re heaving heavy boxes around. It’s just taken its toll a bit.”
Fran said closing the shop would leave a ‘huge, huge gap’ in her life.
In a message to customers she added: “Thanks for supporting us and being so loyal to us.
“We know there are outside influences like the interest that have crept in over the last ten years but people have stuck with us and for that we will be truly grateful and appreciate their support.
“We have supported people as they have supported us.”
She said despite obscure requests the shop has used its ‘knowledge, contacts and expertise’ to fulfil orders.
Fran added: “We pride ourselves on fulfilling every order (large or small) with efficiency and attention to detail and have always enjoyed a challenge.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years.
“We have made many friends and will miss seeing them.”
Fran also paid tribute to store manager David Grimes.
She said: “It’s been great working with David. I’ll miss him as well really. He’s like my day husband. Some people come in just for the banter with him.”
But despite being sad about leaving the shop and her customers, Fran is already planning how to spend her extra free time.
She added: “I just thought pursue other interests. I do like upcycling old pieces of furniture.
“I like to keep fit, I like walking, seeing my grandkids. Just the usual things people do once they retire.
“It will be a huge difference but I’m sure once the summer months come I’ll start appreciating the free time. That’s when I will start enjoying it.
“It will take quite a while to get used to it. They say ‘once you’re used to it, it will be lovely’.
Fran said there is still time for people who want engraving done to bring the item to the shop.