Shopkeeper Paul Broadbent is a real-life Arkwright after being Open All Hours for around 45 years.
Paul, 61, has been serving customers since 1972 but he can trace the store’s history to 1934 when the shop was first opened by his grandparents.
Frank and Winnie named the corner shop FW Lucas and it has remained so ever since.
Paul started straight from school and worked alongside his father Herbert for so long they were compared to Arkwright and Granville from Yorkshire-based sitcom Open All Hours.
“I think they must have based that series on us,” said Paul, whose shop has changed very little since the 1960s.
“Everybody used to call us Arkwright and Granville,” he added.
“We were called that from the start of Open All Hours (which began in 1973). We sell everything and are open all hours.”
FW Lucas, on Balmfield at Norristhorpe, really does stock the lot: DIY equipment, toys, sweets, food, cleaning products, cigarettes, alcohol, light bulbs, batteries...the list is endless.
After his father died in 2002, Paul continued alone, working seven days a week.
“I am open longer hours now because the opening of Sainsbury’s (on Huddersfield Road) has affected the business. I open 9am til 9pm.”
It’s been a labour of love but it has meant he hasn’t had a holiday since he was about 22.
He’s considering retiring in the next couple of years and is hopeful someone will want to keep the shop going.
“I’m coming up to 62 and have done my bit. I just need to get a bit of a life, do some travelling.
When he was a child, he enjoyed trips away with his parents, Herbert and Sheila, to France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. His grandparents looked after the shop while they were away.
He has family around the UK but isn’t married, saying: “I have never wanted to drag a woman into this job, it’s like slavery, it’s seven days a week.”
He added: “I’ve not really had a holiday for about 40 years because I have been in the shop 24/7. I was about 22 when I last had a holiday – don’t put that down as folk will think I’m mad!
“My time here is going to be shortlived; I’m going to put it on the market and hope I can sell it to a family.
“I would like it to remain as a shop because there’s a lot of history to it.”
Locals clearly love the shop, so much so that a Facebook appreciation page called ‘Paul’s Shop’ has over 4,500 ‘likes’.
Paul, who lives above the shop, thinks the humour on the page – putting his face on T-shirts and mugs – has gone a bit too far and “hijacked the shop.”
“I wasn’t right sure about it as I don’t have a computer or a phone. I was told it was a young lad and his mate doing it for a laugh. They pinched the identity of the shop and were amusing themselves.
“The lad (who set up the Facebook page) got a bit silly in recent times, putting my face on this, that and the other.”
Despite the cheeky humour, customers have posted many kind comments on the page.
Claire Ellis said: “Excellent, friendly service. Massive range – from gorgeous sausages, dry cure bacon and ham to light bulbs, loo rolls and great sweeties. Support your local shop.”
Kelly Aitcheson added: “I love this little shop, it’s like stepping back in time. I don’t go in very often but when I do the man behind the counter is a nice fella.”
Paul’s friend David Gallagher said the shop hadn’t changed a bit for as long as he could remember.
“It’s always been the same. There’s stuff in the shop that you can’t get anywhere else. Paul is a sound person and he’s old school and that’s what you like nowadays.”
He added: “Other businesses are out to make profits but Paul stops and talks to you.”