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By Geoff Berkeley Thursday 21 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 08:44
A WELL-KNOWN couple in Martley who transformed their home into a popular store have decided to call it a day after more than 30 years serving villagers.
Alan and Jill Gosling have become familiar faces in the village, near Worcester, since taking over Central Garage in 1981.
They worked tirelessly to get the garage off the ground and even knocked down their bungalow to create Central Stores in 1993, which their daughter, Helen, ran for a number of years.
The joint-business has become a focal point in Martley and something Mr Gosling, 71, said his family and fellow villagers can be proud of.
"When we built the store 20 years ago people probably thought we were either mad or very brave because everyone was closing down village shops then. But since we opened it up, it has gone from strength to strength," Mr Gosling said.
"I think we can look back with a great deal of satisfaction on what we have actually built up and done for the village."
Mr Gosling said he was looking forward to having more time to spend tinkering with his collection of vintage cars, but added: "I will miss speaking to the customers to the same degree. Over 30 years you get to know a lot of people and, although they are customers, they actually become friends.
"But we feel like we have left a good legacy there and believe we have left it in very good hands."
Martley residents Nick and Sarah Bradley will now take up the reins and are hoping to continue the store's success.
"We're thrilled to have taken over," Mr Bradley added.
"Alan and Jill have built something really special here and we're looking forward to continuing to make Central Stores and Garage the focus of village life."
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