End of an era as twins call it a day at 80-year-old Doncaster shop

Twins John and Simon Shepherd, pictured at Jacksons Herbalists, on Printing Office Street, which is due to shut its doors at the end of March. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Jacksons MC 3

It’s been a familiar name in Doncaster town centre for more than 80 years.

But it is the end of an era for Jackson’s herbalist, on Printing Office Street, as the twin brothers who have run the store since the 80s close its doors for the last time.

For John and Simon Shepherd, the decision to retire from their job running the store comes because companies on the internet have taken away a large chunk of their traditional business.

The store is set to remain open with a Doncaster couple planning to take over the business.

But both brothers are sad to see the end of an era.

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, which meant they would have had to leave for six months. They moved down the street and stayed there.

John took over the running of the shop 35 years ago, with Simon joining him in 1997, after previously working for Miller Brothers.

Their father had bought the business from the Jackson brothers when they retired and asked John to run the business for him.

For the first three months, he ran it with the Jackson brothers helping him in the shop so he could find his feet.

He said: “I was thrown in at the deep end and had to learn quickly, so the Jacksons initially worked with me to pass on the information I needed. My dad’s work ethic was very strong, so it was a case of swim or swim.”

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

Over the years, they have seen items such as cod liver oil, glucose amine and turmeric capsules sold to generations of regular customers. Many customers also bought items for body building.

But in recent years, the business has started to suffer as internet-based shops have taken over much of the trade.

And the 58-year-old brothers say they do not want to move online – it is not the type of the business they want to run. John said: “The Jackson brothers didn’t want the place to change and hoped it could be kept in the same format. Customers loved the tradition and personal service. It is a combination of things that have caused us to leave.

“There is the business that we are losing to the internet, but most of our staff are due to retire, too.

“We have customers who have been coming in for years.”

He added: “It is nice that some of the staff are going on to do other things. But the internet has affected us, and I don’t want to move the business online.

“I don’t even have a mobile phone, or use the internet. I don’t want to run a business like that.”

Both the brothers are now planning on taking a break before deciding on their next projects.

John said they had been working six day weeks with just one week’s holiday a year and were looking forward to taking time off. “When I close for the last time it will be sad. This has been the biggest part of my life,” he said.

More from News