THE owner of a pet store which has been supplying shoppers and their furry friends in Amesbury for more than three decades will close its doors.

Sue Osment, who runs Amesbury Pet Stores in Salisbury Road, is to shut the shop on April 21, some 36 years after joining the business as a sales assistant.

Mrs Osment served her first customer in 1982 after she moved from the High Post Garage, when owner Frank Langley emigrated to Australia and his brother Chris offered her a job.

Before long Mrs Osment was made manager and then company director of the Amesbury and Salisbury stores, but tragedy struck the shops in 2010 when Chris died.

“It was his wish that I continue to keep the shops open,” Mrs Osment said. “Unfortunately the Salisbury shop had been struggling for quite a while. So in June 2012 I made the decision to close Salisbury for good.”

“It just hasn’t been the same since Chris passed away.”

Since joining the business, the 55-year-old has served thousands of customers but she now says people’s shopping habits have changed.

“It was more hands-on back then,” she said. “None of this self-service stuff which is weighed up and people helping themselves.”

But Mrs Osment said there has been a lot of good times with staff and customers.

“We have been asked some funny questions like ‘I would like a tub of goldfish food ‘does it matter if my fish is not gold?’,” Mrs Osment said.

“We have all just worked in such a close-knit family atmosphere. Many have stayed for a long time.”

She added: “I have met a lot of very nice people and some very happy and sad times.

“I am sorry to the people of Amesbury that have supported us over the years they have been great, but I feel the time is right. We will all miss having a good laugh and a joke with all of our regular customers.”

The Amesbury Pet Stores was opened on July 16, 1979 by Chris and Frank Langley.