Christine hands over the reins at J Raine
A HARDWARE shop known as the “Aladdin’s Cave of Teesdale” has come under new management after its owner of 37 years took retirement.
However, J Raine & Son, in Middleton-in-Teesdale will remain within former owner Christine Mitchell’s family as her brothers-in-law Andy and Nigel Mitchell, and her niece Lyn McLaughlin have taken over running the store.
Mrs Mitchell and her husband Stephen bought the shop from Vince Anderson in the 1980s and later bought an adjoining house to extend the business.
Sadly, Mr Mitchell died ten years ago but his wife continued to successfully run the shop.
Mrs Mitchell said one of her more memorable moments was when, unknown to her, royalty walked in the front door.
She said: “He want to go fishing and I insisted he needed a fishing permit. He said: ‘I am the Earl of Strathmore, I don’t need a permit’. I had never met him until then”
Michael Bowes-Lyon, the 18th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, became a regular customer at the shop and he drew the winning raffle tickets to celebrate the Mitchells’ 25th anniversary of running the shop.
Mrs Mitchell said: “He was a gentleman, really he was. He was so friendly and down to earth.”
Another visitor to the shop was Prince Charles during one of his trips to upper Teesdale.
Mrs Mitchell thanked the many customers who had supported the store over the years.
She added: “I’ll miss the people. The customers have been a part of the shop. I would like to thank my staff as well – Lyn, Helen, Linda, Julie, Rosie, Nickie and Jacob.”
Her husband’s memory lives on in the form of the Stephen Mitchell Memorial Fund which offers charitable support to various groups in the upper dale and ensured that life-saving defibrillators have been put up in the village.
The new managers of J Raine & Son took over on Friday, May 15.
Nigel Mitchell said: “It has been a bit manic – there has been a lot to learn but Christine is here if we do get stuck.”
He added that a few changes are in the planning including a new computer system and new lines of stock.
Another change is a new van to offer a delivery service.
Mr Mitchell said: “While the [Covid-19] restrictions are in place we have been giving free deliveries to anyone, especially the vulnerable.”