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Forest Gate pet shop to close after 46 years as owner blames gentrification of the area

PUBLISHED: 10:03 25 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:55 25 June 2018

Kevin Shaw in his pet, garden and aquatic centre in Woodgrange Road. Picture: Ken Mears

Kevin Shaw in his pet, garden and aquatic centre in Woodgrange Road. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

A pet shop in Forest Gate is to close after 46 years.

Kevin Shaw, the owner of Smallholders pet, garden and aquatic centre. Picture: Ken MearsKevin Shaw, the owner of Smallholders pet, garden and aquatic centre. Picture: Ken Mears

A pet shop in Forest Gate is to close after 46 years.

Kevin Shaw, 46, the owner of Smallholders Pet, Garden and Aquatic Centre in Woodgrange Road, is being forced to close the business due to the building being sold.

He said the closure is a result of the area being gentrified, with more and more shops around Woodgrange Road closing or relocating as it undergoes regeneration.

“There’s loads of shops at the other end of the high street which are closing already,” he said.

“A lot of the buildings are getting turned into flats.

“But this is Forest Gate, it’s the way it is now.”

The shop opened in 1948 and Kevin took it over 19 years ago, having worked there after school and on Saturdays since he was a teenager. When he left school at 15, he began working there full time.

He told the Recorder he has three months left before he goes for good.

Kevin, who now lives in Wickford, Essex, used to live round the corner in Forest Gate.

He said: “I was gutted, really. I’ve worked here all my life.

“I’m always here – I spend more time here than at home.

“We announced we were closing on Facebook, and lots of people commented saying how sad they were.”

One user commented saying the shop had been there for as long as they could remember, while others reminisced about childhood memories in the shop – including the smell of grass seed and dog biscuits.

Karen Krausé wrote: “That’s sad. I used to spend my pocket money in your shop back in the seventies and eighties. I loved the smell in the shop.”

Linda Brown bought her first cat from the store. She said: “We got our first cat from them, a beautiful black and white cat called Felix. The staff are helpful and it’s a shop with character.”

Kevin is yet to find a new home for his business, and he’s doubtful he’ll be able to find another place in such a good location.

He said: “I’ve not got anywhere yet.

“With rent being so expensive now, I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford another shop around here – it might have to be closer to where I live, in Essex.”

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