It's all change for a popular Basingstoke newsagents

Basingstoke Gazette: Lingam Raj and Sue Foyle shake hands outside Foyles Newsagents, in London Street, Basingstoke Lingam Raj and Sue Foyle shake hands outside Foyles Newsagents, in London Street, Basingstoke

THE sale of a well-known Basingstoke newsagents is the end of an era – but its name will live on under new ownership.

With around 90 years of history under its belt, Foyles Newsagents, in London Street, is set to change hands on Monday.

The shop’s manager Sue Foyle said her father Stephen, who currently owns the business, is retiring. She will therefore be handing over the reins to new owner Lingam Raj, who says he intends to keep the Foyles name.

“The origins of the business started in the early 1920s, so it is sad to see it go,” said Sue. “My father is sorry to sell the business but he feels it is for the best. It’s the end of an era, but it is a happy end of an era.

“Only this week, I had a letter from a customer that actually brought me to tears – every so often it hits me that I won’t be here.”

The customer had known Sue for 25 years, from when she started working in the family business when she was 16.

Sue, who became shop manager in 1997, said: “Originally, the business started when my great- grandfather walked the streets with a wheel-barrow, selling stationery and newspapers. It evolved from then with the business, originally called Steven’s, being registered in 1929. My granddad married my gran and a few decade later the name of the business was changed to Foyles in the 1960s.”

Sue added: “I won’t miss having to get up to do a paper round, when it’s my turn for a lie-in and a paperboy hasn’t turned up. But I will miss the customers and my Susie’s Sweets corner, which I set up in the shop.”

Fortunately, no-shows from paperboys have been a rare occurrence for Foyles, which delivers to around 150 homes in Eastrop, Fairfields and the Top of The Town area.

Sue said: “Mr Raj is still going to carry that on which will be good – I think the home delivery service is needed, especially for the older generation.”

The businessman, who has run South View Stores, in Vyne Road, for 14 years is looking forward to taking over the Top of The Town shop, where he initially plans to offer customers more convenience food.

He said: “I think the shop has good potential and there is a lot we can do here. We’re going to invest in this shop and give it a revamp, which I think will be good for the Top of The Town and the customers.

“It’s going to be quite a big job, but we will do it step by step. I think we’ll keep the Foyles name because it has been so well known here for many years.”

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