Kestrel Bookshop announces closure after 45 years of trading in Sudbury
A family business, which has been operating in Sudbury for almost half a century, is bidding farewell to the town.
Established as Kestrel Bookshop in 1975, the site in Friars Street is thought to have been owned by Jo Berry’s family for two centuries.
“It was probably built when William IV was king,” said her husband, Ian.
Before operating as an independent bookshop, Mrs Berry’s father, Leslie, ran a tobacconist and confectionery store on the site, which he opened after returning from serving in the Second World War.
Following its closure, Mrs Berry opened a bookshop with her mother, Phyll.
Sudbury Ephemera Archive owns a series of photos taken at the premises, one of which is thought to have captured Mrs Berry’s great-grandmother in 1903.
“It’s lovely to know a little about its history,” said Mr Berry, who has enjoyed running a business in the town.
“I’ve loved it because I’ve been able to speak to so many people,” said the 81-year-old. “And I will miss that; I have made a lot of friends – the customers are lovely.”
Mr Berry and his wife, who will both be retiring, said tough trading conditions, alongside competition from online retailers, had contributed to the decision to close.
“We couldn’t sell original little books because supermarkets sold them for less,” he said.
The business established a good relationship with local authors and was only too happy to help support them by showcasing their work.
“We had several good authors and we have sold a lot of books for them,” said Mr Berry.
The store supplied a range of greeting cards, which included work by Bures artist Steven Binks, who Mr Berry commissioned to create an oil painting to reflect his former days working in the agricultural industry.
For 60 years, Mr Berry managed farms across Suffolk, which involved advising farmers on the use of their land.
Reflecting on the book store, he added: “I would keep it going if I could.”
The business is expected to close in the next fortnight.
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