A HARDWARE store is to close its doors after three decades of serving Parkstone, with its owners taking a well-earned retirement.

The family-run CJ's Hardware store will cease trading on Wednesday, December 7, after 30 years of business at 125 Bournemouth Road.

Store founder and namesake Chris Joiner thanked his loyal customer base and said the shop would close because it had reached its end of lease, coinciding with his hopes of retiring.

Chris, who opened the store hardware store in 1992 and ran it with his wife Maureen and son Scott, told the Echo: “The decision was taken because my wife is 75 and I’m 74, so we decided it’s about time we retired.

Bournemouth Echo: CJ's Hardware store in Bournemouth Road, Parkstone.CJ's Hardware store in Bournemouth Road, Parkstone. (Image: Google/CJ's)

“We did try to sell the shop but in this climate there isn’t much interest in purchasing a hardware store anymore unfortunately. So when the lease came up recently we thought we really didn’t want to do another 15 years and retire at 90, so we decided to call it a day.”

Chris opened the store after being made redundant from a previous job. Despite having no experience in hardware, he elected to open the shop as opposed to a newsagent in order to maintain normal working hours.

Residents on social media reacted with sadness and well wishes when the news was announced on social media. One woman said: “Great shop, always had what you needed. And if they didn’t they would order it for you. I wish you well.”

Reacting to the messages, Chris said: “We’ve seen the lovely Facebook comments and a lot of customers have actually come into the store to wish us well. They say they regret that we’re closing but, you know, life goes on.”

While the end of the lease coincided with Chris’ hopes to retire, he stressed recent years had been the most challenging.

Bournemouth Echo: CJ's Hardware store in Bournemouth Road, ParkstoneCJ's Hardware store in Bournemouth Road, Parkstone (Image: Google/CJ's)

“I must say I doubt we’d have continued much longer if I wasn’t retiring,” he said.

“Once Covid hit, our takings went down by virtually 50 per cent. Then the consequent problems with heating, gas and fuel, means it was a good thing we decided to pack up anyway.”

A sign on the front of CJ’s reads “Buy Local or Bye Local” which Chris said is key to independent retailers surviving, encouraging residents to ditch the “impersonal” nature of online shopping.

He concluded: “We’ve been serving customers for quite a few years now and have seen a lot of change.

“I wish them all the best of luck for the future and appreciate their custom because without them we wouldn’t have been here for as long as we have.

“It’s been fun.”