Sad closure of popular Sutton business Jim Grice Ltd after 53 years
A popular business that has been an integral part of Sutton’s town centre for more than 50 years is to close at the end of this week.
Jim Grice Ltd, of Outram Street, which supplied and repaired domestic appliances and electrical household items, became a byword for reliability and efficiency across the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area.
Jim himself, and wife Pat, set up the business on October 9, 1968, initially as a small shop, selling mangles and ringers.
Over the years, it expanded to become a thriving success. And the couple’s son, Brian, and his wife, Helen, continued the good work when they took over in 2000.
However, the doors will close for the final time on Friday, mainly because of a shortage of suitable engineers amid problems exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It is such a shame because we have put a lot of work into it,” said Helen, 61.
"We are not shutting because there is no work. We are actually having to turn contracts down.
"But we can’t get the engineers. After Covid, many threw their cards in, while others have been poached by bigger manufacturers. Some were also reluctant to risk going into people’ s houses during the pandemic.
"It has all left Brian on his own, working 11 hours a day, and it’s got to the point where he’s had enough of fighting the battle. It is affecting his health.
"We were struggling before, and Covid has been the final straw. It’s terrible.”
Sadly, Covid also claimed the lives of both Jim and Pat, within a month of each other last year. And the pandemic has left the company, which comes under the Euronic umbrella, limited in stock.
"Many factories closed and so weren’t producing,” explained Helen. “For instance, tumble-dryers are like gold dust now.
"We have been ordering stuff on the assumption that we might get it, not will get it.”
Contrastingly, the Grices have been left with about £70,000 worth of spares, which they can’t shift.
"It’s stock we kept for repairs because we covered such a large area,” said Helen. “But because we can’t get the engineers, we are having to turn work away and, therefore, we are left with the spares.”
At the business’s peak, Jim Grice Ltd employed 12 staff and, last year, it had four vans on the road.
But in the end, they have made just three people redundant – one who worked in the office and two more in the showroom.
Brian, 61, started work in the shop as a 13-year-old lad, doing odd jobs. But now he and his wife plan to close the doors quietly, retire and “recharge the batteries” from their home in Linby.
Helen added: "We own the Outram Street premises, and we have managed to sell the building, which I think is going to be turned into offices.
"It’s sad because we have been dealing with some customers for years. Many have been coming into the shop to say goodbye. They can’t believe we’re going, and ask where they’re going to get their spares from now.
"I feel quite emotional because this has been my life for 43 years.
"But we are just the latest shop taking a hit. The high street is disappearing, and it is such a shame.”