Fam­ily firm calls it a day af­ter 180 years

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY LOTTIE GIB­BONS lottie.gib­bons@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Visiter

AFAMILY-RUN busi­ness has closed its doors af­ter 180 years of trad­ing.

T. Ascroft & Sons Gro­cers and Corn Merchants in Marshes Lane, Mere Brow. was run by broth­ers Thomas (known as Tommy) 74, Derek, 73 and Keith, 69, along with Tommy and Derek’s wives, Mar­ion and Eve­lyn.

The busi­ness is a land­mark for many who drive to South­port and the broth­ers are the fourth gen­er­a­tion of Ascrofts to run the busi­ness.

The broth­ers all live in and around Mere Brow, and the fam­ily is a true pil­lar of the com­mu­nity.

But af­ter much con­sid­er­a­tion, they have taken the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to re­tire and close the busi­ness and shop.

Derek said: “We have been talk­ing about re­tire­ment for a few years, but 12 months ago we de­cided that come 2018 we would re­tire.

“It’s sad re­ally as we like the job and we like meet­ing lo­cal cus­tomers.”

The shop was started by Alice South­worth (later Alice Ascroft) who was born in 1796.

In 1838 she made an agree­ment with Sir Thomas Hes­keth to rent a plot of land in Mere Brow with per­mis­sion to erect build­ings for a shop and corn mill. The rent was two pounds and two shillings, payable once a year.

But a cen­tury later, both sides of the busi­ness changed.

The corn mill mainly sold pig and poul­try food, but grad­u­ally moved to horse and pet food. The shop sold gro­ceries and other house­hold items, but more re­cently be­came known for its sand­wiches, cakes and pies.

Asked what their se­cret to suc­cess was, Derek said: “I don’t know, I sup­pose we tried to serve cus­tomers as best we could, some­one above us must be look­ing af­ter us!”

And while the broth­ers have no big plans for re­tire­ment, Derek added: “I have a lot of gar­den­ing to do and I am a Pre­ston North End sup­porter, so come the win­ter sea­son I will be watch­ing the matches.”

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