After 50 years of trading in Lynn town centre the end of an era draws nigh as Rowlinson’s Sports shop in Norfolk Street is set to close.
Kevin Rowlinson, who has been a director of the family business for 40 years, has decided now is the time to retire.
He said: “I have mixed feelings about it – I am pleased that the business has achieved 50 years. It’s a milestone, but it’s also the right time to draw a line, which is the reason why I am doing this now. I am going to be 60 this year, and am looking forward to early retirement.”
His father, Jack, opened his first shop in Wisbech in 1967 and then four months later, the same year, the sports and toys shop opened in Lynn. The business developed over the years with more branches in Norwich, Ipswich and Holbeach.
At one time there were two Rowlinson’s shops in Norfolk Street, one at number 104 which sold toys and sports accessories and was run by Kevin’s mother, Joyce, and the other in the existing premises at number 33, which opened in 1972. The toys business was sold in the 1980s but the sports equipment shop has remained. When Jack died in 1977, Kevin and his late brother, Keith, who died in 2012, became directors of the business.
The decades of trading in Lynn town centre hold many memories and in particular, Kevin remembers the three-day week in the 1970s when there were power cuts. He said: “Most of the shops had Tilley lamps and some used candles while the electricity was cut off. I remember one day the Duke of Kent came into the Norfolk Street shop and he wanted to extend a railway set. Because we had lost the power, we had to bring the boxes to the window for natural light and lay the set out on the floor.”
Kevin said that in his retirement he was looking forward to travelling and spending more time with his family.
The closing down sale to sell off the stock is already under way.