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Popular Arbury shopkeeper who hasn’t had a day off in 34 years retires





Nick Patel, who co-owned Hazelwood Stores in Arbury with his wife Pallavi (Pauline), is retiring after 34 years of serving the community.

A well-known figure and a pillar of his local area, Nick even received a letter from Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner thanking him for his tireless efforts during the pandemic.

Nick and Pauline Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell
Nick and Pauline Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell

Since he started, Nick worked from 6am to 7.30pm every day, never closed throughout the pandemic, and says he hasn’t had a day off in 34 years.

A retirement party was held for Nick and Pauline on Wednesday, 31 January, but Nick will still be helping out though in a smaller role.

Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel

He says he feels “sad to be leaving the community behind”, adding: “I grew up with them, I was a young man. It’s sad but that’s how life is, isn’t it?”

Nick says he was always “among friends” in the job and is also grateful to his family for all their support.

“We had ups and downs in the shop but we fought through,” he said. “The locals supported me.”

Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel
Retirement party for Nick Patel on 31 January 2024. Picture: Neal Patel

Nick will continue to work as a part-time postmaster in the shop. “I’ll still be in and around my community,” he said.

“I’ll miss them [the people in the community] but I’m going back as a postmaster so it will be OK – I’ll see them again. The new owner doesn’t want me to leave!”

The retirement do was also held to give Nick a chance to say thank you to all those who have supported him since he took up the post in 1990.

Among the warm messages the couple received from customers was one from Karen and Ron saying: “You make such a difference to our lives”.

Nick and Pauline Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell
Nick and Pauline Patel. Picture: Keith Heppell

Nick and Pauline have now handed over to new owner Vijay Odera.



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