End of an era for shop with a long history

End of an era: Chris (left) and Phil, who owned Hewitts, the Sony retailer on Ecclesall Road
End of an era: Chris (left) and Phil, who owned Hewitts, the Sony retailer on Ecclesall Road

For decades it has been the first port of call for loyal customers seeking out the latest televisions and radios - boasting a long list of local celebrities among its clientele.

But now electronics dealer Hewitt’s - among the oldest shops on Ecclesall Road - is closing its doors for the last time.

Phil Robinson, who runs the firm with business partner Chris Hemmings, called the decision to close ‘a sign of the times’, with ever more trade being lost to the internet.

“It’s sad in some respects, after 40 years of hard graft,” said Phil.

“Retail in shops is declining unfortunately, and younger generations possibly don’t want the personal experience of dealing with a shop.”

Hewitt’s was opened as WM Hewitt in 1965 by its original owner, Maurice Hewitt.

Phil started as a shop assistant 40 years ago and eventually bought the Sony dealership with Chris.

He said he had seen Ecclesall Road change hugely over the years.

“There used to be a Co-op, a butcher’s and a fresh bakery all on our little stretch - it had everything for the community. It was very varied in those days. Now Ecclesall Road is a lovely area to have a coffee in. It will find its place but there has got to be a balance.”

Hewitt’s has become the go-to destination for Sheffield Wednesday players searching for the newest top-of-the-range televisions, Phil added.

“Danny Wilson, Carlton Palmer, David Hirst - they’ve all been in. Howard Webb came in for a TV just the other day.

“We’ve done an awful lot of business with footballers over the years, we’re very proud.”

But Phil said the shop has never focused its attentions solely on Sheffield’s more affluent areas.

“We have a very varied client base, we’ve never limited it only to customers in, say, Fulwood, Ranmoor or Dore. We have people who come in from the Manor or Arbourthorne.”

After the shop closes tomorrow (Friday), a new retail unit will be created downstairs, with flats on the upper floors.

“We didn’t want to sell the business. We didn’t want our name tarnishing and for people to say ‘It’s not as good as it used to be’.

“I don’t know what they’ve got in mind to reopen here, but it’ll be interesting to walk down and have a look.”

Phil said he will spend his free time following his beloved Owls, while Chris will indulge his hobby of paragliding.

“It’s a new chapter,” Phil said. “We just want to thank the people of Sheffield who have supported us so well.”