AN INDEPENDENT shoe shop is celebrating 50 years of business.

Family run firm, Garston’s Shoes, in London Road, Hadleigh is marking the milestone.

Run by father and son duo Jonathon and David Garston, the shop opened in its current premises in Hadleigh on February 1, 1969.

The pair are also Conservative councillors at Southend Council.

David Garston, now aged 73, bought the shoe shop in February 1969, at the age of just 24.

Jonathan, 43, said his father had support from his parents Esme and Mic when purchasing the store.

He said: “Although he was met with many challenges and competition in the area, David built up the business attracting customers from a large catchment area.

“He focused on quality shoes for all the family and took pride in offering a specialist shoe fitting service.

“50 years on, the business is still in the family, run by myself and excellent team members. David still works in the shop part-time.

“With huge challenges on the high streets of the county and country, we are extremely grateful to the loyal customers past and present who have supported the business to achieve 50 years in business.

“I am really delighted that we are celebrating the five decades of trade.”

He added: “I think this is down to David working hard to start the business and our loyal customers and excellent staff over the years.”

Mr Garston said there are various major points of note during the business’ successful decades trading in Hadleigh.

He said the biggest point to note is how his father pushed for the business to succeed.

He said for the first two years, David had to live on hardly any wages while the business was building up.

Mr Garston said: “I believe that one of our biggest achievements is large numbers of customers praising us; it is so pleasing when customers say our service is good.

“We are also lucky to have the agency for top brands such as Clarks, Startrite, Loake and Hotter.

“I think we have a good name in south Essex and certainly online on the Hadleigh Facebook page and the comments online made by shoppers and regular customers reflected this.

“Our business’ offering is quite similar to when we first opened.

“This recipe seems to have worked, which is offering a good stock holding, trained shoe fitters and excellent customer service.

“To a certain extent, the internet and online shopping does affect our business but in most cases our prices are the same as online and we can offer the service and fitting.”

He added: “All shoes vary in size so if you buy online they may not fit and when customers come into the shop we have a selection of sizes and widths to try on.”