Could the end be in sight for one of the most iconic and longest-surviving shops in Shaftesbury High Street?
Owners Doug and Phil Houghton have decided to call time on their seven decades in charge and put their Hine & Parsons department store opposite the town hall up for sale, writes Richard Thomas.
The freehold and the business is for sale at an asking price of £700,000.
Phil Houghton told Gillingham News he hopes the business will be sold as a ‘going concern’ but he said there’s no guarantee that any new owners will continue the business that is known throughout Dorset and has attracted customers from as far afield as London.
‘It’s very sad as I know we’re something of an institution in the town but my father is 89 now and very frail and it’s time he retired.’
Phil said his 40 years at the shop is nothing compared with his 89-year-old father Doug who’s managed the store for more than 65 years. But what of his own plans?
‘I’m not quite ready to retire myself. I don’t know what I’ll do next but I want to do something. I won’t know what to do with myself otherwise. You could say I’m open to offers!’
He’ll have to wait a bit longer however. He said that so far there have been no offers for either the freehold or the business.
The Houghtons built the shop up to its present size from a ‘little box’ of a shop run by a Mr Parsons from whom Doug Houghton bought it in the 1950s.