Chesterfield cake supplies shop to close as 80-year-old owner takes retirement after more than 50 years in charge
A veteran shopkeeper has admitted to a tinge of sadness as she closes her doors for the final time – at the age of 80.
Gill Davies is retiring and closing Crazy About Cakecraft, her cake decoration equipment shop on New Beetwell Street in the town centre – having started out running a card stall on Chesterfield market more than 50 years ago.
“When you get to 80, I think it’s time to go,” she said.
“Everybody is sad its going – some days it’s like a community centre in the shop.”
Gill, of Wingerworth, began on Chesterfield Market on March 28, 1969, paying 12 shillings for a stall for the day – her accounts for the day, which she has kept all these years, show she made a tidy profit, taking £10, 10 shillings and eight pence.
It has been a journey and a half for Gill – as other stall-holders attempted to emulate Gill’s success with cards, she moved into cake supplies.
She moved to Chesterfield Market Hall, where she stayed until the mid-1980s, even opening a second stall in Sheffield’s Castle Market, which she had for 25 years.
“They’ve both been very good over the years,” she said.
“Even my grandchildren come to help with packing and things,” she said of Julie’s children, Harrison, 15, and 13-year-old Tianna.
She moved premises in Chesterfield before settling on New Beetwell Street in 2013.
“It was a sex shop before,” she said, referring to the building’s previous life as home of Pulse & Cocktails adult novelty superstore.
“We did find one or two interesting things when we moved in.
“We had men coming to the back door to return videos early on. They’d walk in and be shocked. We’d have to tell them it had moved to Sheffield.”
Under her stewardship, Crazy About Cakecraft grew into one of the largest sugarcraft stores in the north of England, alongside side offering cakecrafting masterclasses.
And while it will be missed in Chesterfield, cake makers will not have far to go for supplies, as much of the stock has been purchased by Just Roll With It Cakes, which has opened in the former Castle Arms pub in Bolsover.
“I am quite sad after 52 years as we have built it up, but it’s time.
”We were looking to sell it a couple of years ago, but then Covid hit and it didn’t go through.”
Daughter Jackie, who has worked alongside her mum for 35 years, said, however, that the family had enjoyed their enforced break from the day-to-day life of the shop, due to lockdown measures, leading to the decision to retire.
"I think mum realised, at 80, she could spend more time in the garden.” she said.
“I’m been doing this for 35 years, I am going to miss it,” she said.
“The people and the shop, we will miss.”
Jackie, who will be continuing in the industry with her DoodleLooLooDesigns cake toppers company, said everyone would miss her mum.
“She looks after every customer, she’s just always looked after everybody.”