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Shop has closed after 73 years

PUBLISHED: 09:57 11 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:07 02 July 2010

Richard Gipp

Richard Gipp

ONE OF the borough s best known shops has shut down after serving the Dagenham community for 73 years. J Gipp greengrocers, which has stood on the corner of Heathway and Parsloes Avenue since 1934, closed for the last time on Christmas Eve. But its owne

ONE OF the borough's best known shops has shut down after serving the Dagenham community for 73 years.

J Gipp greengrocers, which has stood on the corner of Heathway and Parsloes Avenue since 1934, closed for the last time on Christmas Eve.

But its owner has scotched rumours that he was forced to shut because of a rival trader who opened next door.

Eyebrows were raised when Variety Fruit and Veg opened in the adjacent unit just before Christmas.

But Richard Gipp, son of original owner Jack Gipp, told the POST that he had already made plans to shut down.

But he will continue running the other half of his business which supplies fruit and vegetables to schools.

Mr Gipp said: "I've been here ever since I can remember. I started when I was at school, and just carried on.

"It's been good, but the Heathway has all changed now. It's time to get out.

"We've been thinking about it for a long while, and decided that Christmas Eve would be our last day.

"Most of our customers have sold their homes and moved out or the area and some of the older customers have died."

The shop next door, formerly a butcher's, was bought by Charlie Ahmed just over a year ago.

He planned to turn it into a takeaway chicken restaurant, but decided to open a greengrocery instead because he could not get the appropriate take-away licence.

Mr Ahmed said: "I applied for an A3 licence, but the council wouldn't give it to me on grounds that the place could cause a lot of litter from customers.

"I asked Richard what his plans were for the future because I didn't want to give him any competition, and he said they were going to close down."

The closure of Gipps is another blow to Dagenham's troubled shopping parade which now has few old established businesses left.

One of them - Roy's Pie and Mash shop - remains open for the time being but will close as soon as a buyer can be found.

In the meantime owner, Roy Horton has opened another branch in Hornchurch which is doing better business than the Heathway shop.

Mr Horton said: "We're keeping it going till we can get what we want for it.

"We don't want to go, but what can you do when the customers don't come in? I'm sad to see Gipps go."

A major project is now underway which the council hope will help restore the street to its former glory.

Roadworks have been underway for several months to make the street more pleasant for shoppers, and a new Tesco store and library are in the pipeline.

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