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Fond farewell to Gravesend's Nuxley Toys after 44 years in town

It probably holds more happy memories than any other shop in Gravesend, but after 44 years Nuxley Toys is set to close down.

Manager Richard Ray, son of owners Jean and Dave, confirmed this week the shop was set to cease trading in the coming months after more than four decades in Milton Road.

Richard Ray, manager of Nuxley Toys with a classic Tonka Truck. Picture: John Westhrop
Richard Ray, manager of Nuxley Toys with a classic Tonka Truck. Picture: John Westhrop

He said a number of factors had led to the closure, but cited changes to high street shopping and online trading as the main driving forces.

"We haven't got a date yet," said Mr Ray yesterday. "We're going to try and get through to Christmas - we've got Halloween beforehand and we'll try to run the stock down until Christmas.

"It's a shame we're going - I'm 52 and it's a big part of my life but lots of things are affecting us. Town centres are changing - the internet is a massive thing.

"We don't get the footfall, although we have done today, because the news has been on Facebook - that just shows the power of the internet and social media."

But while it was a sad week for the shop owners, he said they had been contacted by dozens of well-wishers since news of the closure became public.

There is no firm date for the closure yet. Picture: John Westhrop
There is no firm date for the closure yet. Picture: John Westhrop

"It's been nice to get so many nice comments," he added. "We've been inundated with people who have seen what's happening and have come down to bring their kids.

"One guy came with his son in a buggy and bought about five years' worth of Christmas presents.

"There's so many memories because children came here for their own things- we've had lots of people coming in for a trip down memory lane.

"The shop has a lot of memories for people, because when they came here it was their time. It wasn't boring shopping - you're at that age in your life when you haven't got a care in the world apart from what toy you were going to get."

Mr Ray said he did not know what the future held for the shop building, or for his own career.

"Both mum and dad are in their 80s and they will retire," he added. "I'm going out into the big wide world."

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