THE much-loved owners of a family-run newsagents in Benfleet have stepped down after 25 years.

Pravin Patel, 64, and Lina Patel, 58, have owned Shree News, in High Road, South Benfleet since July 1999.

The couple opened the store after deciding to take up a new venture wanting to start something of their own.

After 25 successful and happy years, Mr and Mrs Patel have stepped down and closed their shop for good.

Their two son’s Arjun Patel, 28, and Mitul Patel, 26, have also been helping out at the shop since they were teenagers.

Arjun said: “It was a very tough decision for us all, but it has been a blessing to have been part of the community for this long.

“It is a semi-retirement decision as my dad fell ill three years ago, so it has just been my mum, my brother, and myself coping with the business.

“It has been an absolute up and down journey, but we have loved it.”

The shop is set to be taken over by another newsagent owner, but details are yet to be confirmed at this stage.

Arjun said since post-Covid the business had become a bit of struggle financially as well as on top of his dad becoming unwell.

However, he highlighted how heart-warming the community have been to the family.

Arjun added: “It is bitter-sweet to close.

“Recent performance wasn’t sufficient enough, and it has just been a gradual ‘endpoint’ for the last few years, so it is mixed emotions.

“The business has become a bit of a struggle, post-Covid, decline in footfall, expenses rising for us as well for everyone. It got to the point we were just surviving.

“But it was still a huge effort from all of us.

“Just looking through all the comments we have had since announcing the decision, really had us emotional.

“We have been proud to have such a lovely impact on the community.”