An 'emotional' farewell as Muswell Hill shop owners retire after 36 years
- Credit: Ashika Patel
The owners of a Muswell Hill supermarket are saying an emotional farewell as they retire after 36 years service.
Bakul Patel and his wife Amita Patel are handing over the keys of the Alexandra Supermarket, in Alexandra Park Road, on Sunday (May 8).
They have holidays planned and their son's wedding to look forward to as they leave a community they are hugely fond of.
"I have mixed feelings," said Bakul, who turned 64 in April. "This has been part of my life for 36 years. I came in April 1986. It's like my family.
"I came here as a young man and now leaving as an old man."
He said Covid and health issues had made up their minds.
The shop was part of a Londis franchise when he and Amita, 62, took it over but with "too many rules to follow" they came out of it a decade ago and changed the name.
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"Every day is a high point," he said. "it's such a beautiful neighbourhood. Every day you hear a different story. We get along very well with the customers."
The couple – who have a son, Ankit Patel, 32 and a daughter Meera, 29 – say there have been highs and lows over the years but a farewell gathering on Sunday will be "very emotional".
"We'd like to thank all the customers for their support over the years," said Bakul. "We are very grateful. I'm sure they are as well but we are most grateful. They are such a lovely neighbourhood, so welcoming."
He added: "We've never seen the other side of the world. We've been here 24/7 – start at 6.30am, finish at 8. We had no social life."
A trip is planned to Morocco in the next few weeks. Then, in July, is the wedding ceremony of their son to their new daughter-in-law Ashika.
"We can enjoy that without the pressure of the shop," Bakul added. "Maybe a few years down the road we'll look after their children."