Popular indie calls time

A popular independent toy retailer is closing his store after some 34 years in the business, citing changes in the market as one of the reasons for his decision.
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Keith Hibberd shut the doors of Rossi's in Chingford last week. He told a reporter for the local Guardian that "the biggest nail in the coffin of the independent toy retailers is that kids are getting older younger. This is like the end of an era".

The orginal shop had been part of the town for around 60 years, opening in 1948, the joint brainchild of Ernie Wallace, a local stallholder at Walthamstow Market, and an Italian businessman who founded the Rossi's ice cream empire. There were soon seven ice cream parlours and 120 vans, with Hibberd taking over the running of the parlour in Walthamstow High Street in 1972 with his brother.

He was offered the business in Chingford Mount shortly after. From there, Hibberd and his wife took the decision to transform the shop into a children's boutique.

The locally manufactured ice cream was retained and the store won Toyshop of the Year in 1996.

"People come in and say: where am I going to get my toys, my ice cream and my fireworks?" Hibberd told The Guardian. "I want to say a big thank you to all the customers for supporting me over the years."

For the original story log on to www.guardian-series.co.uk.

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