Roy to retire after nearly seven decades

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One of Carrick’s longest standing West Street traders is set to retire at the end of this month after nearly seven decades in business.

Roy Hamilton, proprietor of Caskers, has been trading in the town centre since 1950.

Previously, he owned the Mermaid Bar opposite the castle.

Then he took over the hardware shop at 5 West Street, formerly owned by Fred Jenkins.

As business grew, a move to bigger premises at number 19 followed before setting up shop at his current location.

Caskers, a hardware outlet, will be the second long-established business to leave West Street in just a few months.

In February, McDowell’s Butchers, shut up shop at West Street after trading at one of the town centre’s main thoroughfares for 35 years.

Both retailers blamed a town centre public realm scheme to upgrade paving for a downturn in trade which Mr. Hamilton said “never really recovered”.

Mr. Hamilton also attributed the cost of rent and rates as a deciding factor.

He also noted that the retail sector is “terribly competitive”.

Meanwhile, Roy is looking forward to a well-earned rest after working in the shop every day.

He says he feels that the end of the shop’s lease presents the ideal time to retire.

At the age of 80 years, Roy says that the “time has come” to shut up shop and he plans to pull down the shutters for the last time at the end of June.

It will also bring an end to his daily commute from his home in County Down.

He went on say that the family hardware tradition will be continued by his daughter Irene and husband Hugh who have opened a shop in Whitehead.

Hugh is now looking forward to a well-earned rest.

“I have plenty of gardening to do and I will take a few bus trips around Co. Down.”