A changing of hands at Best One in Leyland
From selling sweets to their youngest son making a surprise arrival in the flat above the shop, Arun and Pat Parmar have a lot of happy memories of their time running their own off licence in Leyland.
The couple said goodbye to Parmar News and Off Licence after 27 years, handing the Leyland Lane shop over to Sumit and his wife Feni Patel, who are equally excited about their next adventure, with the shop, now named Best One.
Arun, 58, says: “After 27 years we felt it was long enough and it was a good time to retire and let someone else come in and re-energise the shop.
“We are both knocking on a bit and we feel the shop needs a younger person.
“I have mixed emotions about selling up.
“On one hand, I am relieved as I am stress-free but at the same time it is quite sad. We didn’t want to say goodbye but there is only so far you can go.
“We don’t have any big plans at the moment.
“I am just going to do some repairs around our house and so the gardening.
“In time, we might look at getting part time jobs.”
Arun reveals he and Pat bought the shop after he got made redundant from Leyland Motors.
He says: “Pat used to work for Dutton Forshaw and I worked at Leyland Motors until I got made redundant.
“The opportunity came up to own a shop and we took it. It was great running our own business.
“The hours suited us in terms of being able to nip out to take the kids to school and pick them up.
“When we bought it, the shop was a newsagents.
“After a couple of years, the off licence next door went bust and so we bought that. We opened the shop up and made it bigger, with a refurbishment. It has been a convenience store ever since, selling all sorts.”
Over the past 27 years, Arun and Pat have a lot of memories, but one which they will never forget happened above the shop.
Arun recalls: “We lived above the shop, which was very convenient.
“Our youngest son, Rahul, who is now 21, was born in one of the rooms upstairs.
“We were not expecting him to come so soon. You can’t forget something like that, so the flat will always be special to us.”
The father-of-three admits the best thing about running his own shop was getting to know the customers.
He says: “I loved being part of the community.
“We were both in the shop every day and everyone got to know us.
“We had a lot of regular customers and they were brilliant. There are some great characters around here.
“We really got to build some strong relationships with people. Some of our regulars were quite upset when we said we were leaving.”
The thought of passing the shop on to one of their three children did pass Arun and Pat’s minds, but they had already established their own careers.
Arun adds: “My children have expressed an interest in taking over, but they have already trained up to do something else.
“My elder is a pharmacist, another is a financial advisor and my younger is training to be an accountant.”
Sumit Patel cannot wait to take on the challenges of running his own business.
The 27-year-old says: “I am really excited to be taking over the shop.
“It is in a really nice area and there are a lot of loyal customers I am looking forward to getting to know.
“Everyone has been so positive and we thank the customers for being so nice.
“I have some new plans. I now have a coffee machine to sell hot drinks and next year I am looking to introduce take away food and a wider product range.
“I have been in the industry nine years as a sales assistant and so looking forward running my own business.
“I am certainly looking forward to build strong relationships with my customers.”