Shops & Businesses

Here we take a stroll down Main Street and a walk into the past

Enterprise House, Main Street, Kirby Muxloe

This time, we take a look at Enterprise House on Main Street, built in the early 1960’s. In 1936, the total number of houses in the village amounted to 746, but by the early 1960’s, the total number of dwellings had risen to 1,420. This dramatic increase was mainly due to the building of the Jelson estate (Armson Avenue, Garfit Road, etc.), the council bungalows in The Keep and the large Masters and Titmus development (Maytree Drive, Cherry Tree Avenue, etc.). These were all built between the mid to late ‘50’s and the early ‘60’s. With the large increase of houses and inhabitants, the village was in need of a variety of new and different shops.

Until around 1962, the area between Fox Lane and Battens (now One Stop) had been mainly field, bordered by a large, tall hedge. The land now holding Enterprise House belonged to the first house on the right-hand side of Fox Lane, named Thorntree Cottage. The owners of the house, at that time, decided to sell off a large piece of their land, thus creating a vacant space for a building large enough to hold four retail units with accommodation above. The design of the building was very much in keeping with the style of the moment, flat fronted shops with a flat roof above. The occupants had many years of problems with the flat roof and eventually it was removed. The building now has a pitched roof.

The shop units were soon occupied. Unit 1 became home to N. Crane, drapers. They sold a variety of goods including “Ladybird” children’s clothes. By 1972, the unit was taken over by Youngs’ shoe shop. They sold a variety of shoes and also took in repairs, which were then passed on to a cobbler in Ratby. After the shop closed in the late ‘70’s, the unit was possibly taken over by a bakery selling bread and cakes (we are not sure about this and need your help). Later on, the unit became home to the Alliance and Leicester Building Society which, after a take-over in 1980, became Santander. In the last couple of years, the unit has been home to Scotneys, a Letting Agent and Brooks Residential, an estate agent.

In Unit 2, between 1963 until 1966, we find a butcher with the name of R.V. Wells. He was succeeded by another butcher, D.C. Barker, who stayed until 1972. Then followed our last village butcher - the well-remembered Tony Doolan and his wife, Sue, who ran the shop until 2004. Our first village delicatessen, run by Mike Cooling, opened as Doolan’s butcher’s shop closed. After three years, the deli’ was taken over by Sandra and Alan Hill and then in the last few years Sarah Flavell. The delicatessen has grown over time and is now a thriving concern with a much-loved coffee shop!

We then arrive at Unit 3. It is known that Nicholson’s, who sold groceries and fruit and veg, occupied the space in the 1960’s. Hartleys, who were already established further along Main Street, bought Nicholsons out and moved their pet and garden shop into unit 3. At the same time, they expanded the larger Hartleys grocery and provisions shop. This shop was run by the well-known Gerry Hurst, who still lives in the village today. After 3-4 years, Hartleys decided to close the pet shop and the unit was taken over by a clothing shop run by Mr and Mrs Bowles from Botcheston. Sadly, Mrs Bowles became ill and the shop closed. It is thought that the first pharmacy unit then arrived in around 2000. In 2006, new owners took it over and created the very popular “Village Pharmacy” which we still have today.

Unit 4 was firstly occupied by Renée, a lady’s hairdresser who stayed until around 1972, when the shop became The House of Hillikere run by David Briggs. Many people will remember the rows of hairdryers and ladies sitting with rollers in their hair and of course perms, all very popular until the advent of the blow-dry in the1990’s. In 2006, David retired and the shop was taken over by Kool for Kuts, which still remains today.

With many thanks to David Briggs and Gerry Hurst for their help with this article.

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