The Bexhill store has been put on the market by long-time owners Anne and George Singh, with their daughter Suzanne Dhesi.
The Bexhill store has been put on the market by long-time owners Anne and George Singh, with their daughter Suzanne Dhesi. Cathy Adams

Bexhill icon up for sale

SOME local institutions are timeless, seeming to have existed forever and unlikely to ever change.

One such is the Bexhill corner store, where the Singhs, their parents and occasionally nowadays their children have worked and served the community for 20 years.

But all things must pass, and the family has put the property on the market.

It was not a matter of age, according to George, 66, who despite rising at 5am and leaving the shop at 7pm, seven days a week, said he didn't feel tired.

It was more a matter of choosing not to spend the evening of their lives working so hard, said his wife Anne, 63, who puts in just as many hours a week.

She is keen to have more time relaxing with her husband and with her children and their children, ideally at the family farm in Caniaba.

Daughter Suzanne Dhesi is providing some of the impetus behind the sale, though like her mother she is tearful at the prospect of letting it go.

But the shop has become too much for her parents, Ms Dhesi said.

They have a staff of six but the hours and the volume of produce mean the hard work is never ending.

And the business has grown hugely over the years. When the Singhs took it over, about 40 people came through the doors in a day - "and 20 of those were to collect their mail", Mr Singh said.

On a recent Friday they had 700.

Many of those would be attracted by Mrs Singh's famous curries, others would be taking out their share of the 500 trays of mangoes the shop sells every week.

Both the older Singhs had farming backgrounds and when they bought the shop, Mr Singh wanted to continue growing things in Caniaba.

He only took over running the shop from Ms Dhesi seven years later.

Now he is reluctant to give the shop up, but his daughter is looking at a new role for him that will serve to provide the great social pleasures he has come to love - as the unofficial mayor of Bexhill.

And his wife will at last get the chance to relax.



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