The family shoe shop marks its diamond jubilee

Valerie and Alan Kerridge in their shoe shop on St John's Street.
Valerie and Alan Kerridge in their shoe shop on St John's Street.
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Pledgers shoe shop has been marking 60 years in business, run by the same family.

It was on Remembrance Day 1953 that Ron and Kathleen Pledger opened their shop in St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, and this week their daughter and son-in-law Valerie and Alan Kerridge have marked the diamond jubilee with special offers.

Valerie said: “We’ve got a picture of my dad on the wall and people are saying ‘I remember Mr Pledger’.”

He began with stock crammed into the shop, leaving only limited serving space. In 1966 it expanded into the shop next door, with access cut through the wall.

It was not until 1977 they added a stockroom at the back and completely removed the wall between the two shops.

Valerie joined her parents in the business in late 1984 and Alan joined in early 1985.

“We must be doing something right,” Valerie said on the shop’s birthday. “We’re known for helping people if they require it, which helps give it the personal touch.

“A lot of customers in wheelchairs like to come and see us because we’ll spend time with them.”

She believes being independent means they have more freedom to tailor stock to their customers’ tastes.

But not only have those tastes changed, so have customers’ feet. In the early days woman often wore size two or three with few above seven. Today many wear sevens and eights with some needing as large as ten.