Chipping Sodbury greengrocer Ian shuts up shop for the last time

GREENGROCER Ian Veale is saying goodbye to Chipping Sodbury after 40 years in business.

Ian’s Fruit, Veg & General Supplies in Broad Street is closing for the final time today (Saturday November 25), and will be stripped out after Christmas.

He says despite four years trying, he can’t find anyone to take on the business.

Ian, who lives in Yate, said he had decided to retire as he approaches his 70th birthday.

He said: “I’ve been in the same spot for 40 years.

“It’s been alright, I’ve made a living out of it. I supply the local pubs and have a good number of regulars. 

“I planned to retire at 65, but couldn’t find anyone to take on the business.

“I have been asking around for four years but people are just not interested in taking it over. I’ll take a rest over Christmas, and if there’s still no interest I will come back in to strip the shop down forever.”

Ian said Covid had hit small shops hard.

Online deliveries hitting small shops

He said: “Since then, people are getting a lot delivered now instead, and the fruit business is very quiet.”

Ian worked as a baker from the age of 11, but at 30 decided to set up his own business and took over the old Crane’s greengrocers, and has been running it ever since.

He said he would not be missing the 3.30am alarm calls, to get up in time to buy fresh fruit for his shop – or the 14-hour days.

Resident Keith Evans got in touch with the Voice, and said Ian’s departure would be a great loss for the town.

Keith said: “He has been there through thick and thin, and will be sadly missed.”

One customer said she had been loyal to Ian even when the town’s Waitrose supermarket opened.

She said: “I just liked his friendly smile, and the way he made you feel welcome.”

Chipping Sodbury photographer Rich McD produced a special video for Ian, where residents and traders said thank you and wished him a happy retirement. It can be seen on Rich’s Facebook page.