FAMILIAR FACE: Allen Jenkins outside his shop on Galgate in Barnard Castle
FAMILIAR FACE: Allen Jenkins outside his shop on Galgate in Barnard Castle

A STALWART of Barnard Castle’s high street is celebrating 35 years in business and at 75 says he isn’t ready to slow down just yet.
For the past four decades the Décor Carpet Centre, in Galgate, has helped thousands of customers find the right floor covering and window adornments for their homes, something owner Allen Jenkins is immensely proud of.
He said: “I enjoy working in my shop 100 per cent. I know I said to people when I hit 65 I would retire, but I don’t want to. I enjoy meeting and helping people and I’m not ready to pack it in yet.”
Mr Jenkins, set up the business in 1987 when the premises on the corner of Galgate and Montalbo Road became available.
“I served my time as a decorator with T Metcalfe,” he added. “I set up and ran my own decorating business when I was 22 until I was 40.
“When the shop came available, I jumped at the chance to take it over. It had been used by a stone guy selling fireplaces before that but it’s had lots of things over the years. TT Leathers were based here for a while and I know it was a grocer at one point.”
Mr Jenkins prides himself on his customer service, preferring pen and paper to modern technology.
He added: “It’s an old-fashioned business. I have no computer or internet and I much prefer to talk to people and find out what they want and make sure they are happy. Ninety per cent of people that come to me are local recommendations.
“I have a fantastic fitter, Paul Price, that I have worked with for the last 10 years that I am happy recommending, but I stopped doing curtains when my curtain maker retired.”
Prior to the pandemic Mr Jenkins underwent a major operation to repair an aneurysm on his aorta which was found during a routine health check, meaning he was away from his shop for some time.
He added: “When Covid-19 came and after the operation I got a bit depressed being away from the shop. When I got back to work, I realised how much I missed it. I missed meeting people. I have to thank the people of Teesdale and the surrounds for their great support over the years.
“I wouldn’t have survived so long without them. I have some fantastic customers and it’s funny as I’m now getting the children of previous customers coming in now.
“My shop isn’t the longest running in Barney, but it is one of them. Thirty five years in, I’m very proud of that.”