80 year old Doncaster shop saved by the neighbours' daughter

It has been on the Doncaster high street for 80 years -- and now it is set to remain there.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 09 March, 2018, 09:31

Two weeks ago, Jacksons herbalists looked set to close down for good after the twin brothers who ran it, John and Simon Shepherd, aged 58, decided to pack their jobs in after 30 years.

But today the shop looks set to keep going for a new generation, after Doncaster lass Lydia Georgiou stepped in with her partner, Arman Mantella, both aged 25, to take it over.

Twins Simon and John Shepherd, pictured at Jacksons Herbalists, on Printing Office Street, with the new owners Arman Mantella and Lydia Georgiou. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Jacksons New Owners MC 1

Lydia, whose mum and dad have run the Four Seasons Cafe next-door-but-one for over 40 years, only discovered Jackons was closing during a visit home from London, where he has lived and worked as an internet health vlogger and personal trainer for the last six years.

Within days of hearing that the shop was closing, she had a deal in place to take it over, and is now promising to keep it the traditional, old-style shop it has been since the 1930s.

Lydia said: "I've been in London for the last six years, and we came up to visit my mum and dad - that's how we found out that Jacksons was closing.

Twins Simon and John Shepherd, pictured at Jacksons Herbalists, on Printing Office Street, with the new owners Arman Mantella and Lydia Georgiou. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Jacksons New Owners MC 1

"I just couldn't believe it was going to go. I used to go there.

"I went in, and I spoke to John and Simon - and I asked themif we could take the business over. They were thrilled.

"I had seen John and Simon around since I was younger, but I didn't really know them. I asked if I could speak to them, and the conversation ended with us asking to take over the business.

"We love the shop," said Lydia. "When we went there to speak to John and Simon we just looked at each other with a twinkle in our eyes, and we said 'we have to do this.' It is an 80-odd year old business in Doncaster that we wanted to save.

"We feel so lucky. It's as though everything happens for a reason. We hadn't planned to come back to Doncaster, but we were between contracts as the lease had finished on our home in London."

John and Simon had not wanted to develop an internet sales side of the shop - but Lydia plans to do so.

She already has a presence online through her health vlogs - videos she makes and puts on the web.

"We're both in our 20s, so the internet is second nature to us," she said. "But we want to keep the shop itself as it is."

Lydia did not tell her mum and dad, Beverley and Tony, about her plans until they were completed.

"Mum and dad are really excited," she said.

The shop is believed to have first opened in the 1920s or 1930s, by the two Jackson brothers, who ran it until the 1980s. It was originally situated on the corner of Printing Office Street and Pells Close, later moving to a site further along Printing Office Street because of problems with the original building at the time.

When the shop moved premises, the fittings from the previous site were retained, so the site retained its old fashioned style, complete with the original apothecary drawers.