Shopkeeper retires at 103

Store of memories: Jack Yaffe enjoys a cuppa in his north Manchester haberdashery and hardware shop

Store of memories: Jack Yaffe enjoys a cuppa in his north Manchester haberdashery and hardware shop

Britain's oldest shopkeeper is retiring at 103. But Jack Yaffe will remain involved as "chief adviser" to his haberdashery and hardware store in north Manchester.

For 78 years, Mr Yaffe has manned the store in Prestwich that he opened with his wife Leah. He began selling furniture while his wife specialised in feather pillows and other haberdashery. Mr Yaffe has run the shop with his daughter-in-law since Leah died.

"I'll still be in the shop," he pledged. "Not working, but I'll be watching. I'll be staying as chief adviser on business. Do you remember Woolworths? They closed down with 900 shops but we are still going."

Mr Yaffe, who says he has no hobbies, attributes his business longevity to "hard work and little play. And I've never touched a drop of beer in my whole life. We do sell beer glasses and pint pots, though."A fond memory of his entrepreneurial nous was purchasing lost property from Britain's railways at auction.

'Hard work and little play' has been his key to success

"The auctioneers knew I had a good nose for a bargain. And I always passed them on to my customers," he reminisced.

Daughter-in-law Evelyn, 70 in June, will take over the reins. But she does not envision working at 103. "I don't think I'll live that long. Jack's only living because he's got a very strong will."

Last updated: 10:44am, January 20 2012