Shopkeeper from Oakham bids farewell after 30 years

Richard Alderman: Owner of County Squire shop, Oakham.
Richard Alderman: Owner of County Squire shop, Oakham.

A shopkeeper is finally hanging up his tape measure and putting his feet up after 30 years of selling and hiring out menswear in Rutland.

Richard Alderman, pictured, ran the County Squire shop in Catmose Street, Oakham from 1983 to 2010 before scaling down to a part-time formal menswear hire business, also called County Squire, in John Street three years ago.

The shop has been taken over by Jonathan Lloyd who will continue to run it under the same name.

Richard, 68, of Lonsdale Road, Oakham, bought County Squire from Jerry Solomons after managing it for two years. Over time he became a familiar figure to Rutlanders, as he would stand leaning on the post outside the store on the corner of Mill Street and Catmose Street.

Originally from Essex, he trained to be a baker and studied patisserie in Switzerland before switching to retail. He worked in a London boutique and for Foster Brothers menswear chain and abroad in Zimbabwe and Germany before moving to Rutland.

“My father lived in Uppingham and my mother-in-law also lived locally so when I was offered a good deal by Jerry I moved here,” he said.

“When I moved here I had the benefit of experience in working in towns that had been bypassed and I never wanted a bypass for Oakham,” he said.

“People go around the town, they no longer drive through it and although thousands visit Rutland Water they don’t come to Oakham. Trade is diminishing and I think it will get worse, partly down to the internet.

“The town needs to spend a considerable amount of money to advertise the fact that it is here. It’s a lovely town but so few people know about it.”.

Richard has enjoyed his work and reckons he has kitted out bridegrooms, best men and ushers for thousands of weddings over the years.

“The vast majority of customers have been lovely. I know so many people in the town and can’t walk down the street or visit a shop without stopping for a chat,” he said.

He is planning to enjoy his home and garden and the local area with Ronita, his wife of 43 years. They will also be visiting Australia where sons Dominic and Paul both live.

“You put a lot of hours in when you work in retail, so I’m planning to relax and have some fun,” he said.