An economic downturn has led to the demise of another Stratford store.
After nine years of trading, a shop on Broadway is closing down, with the owners saying they think a lot of businesses are facing the same decision.
"We're going to quit while we're ahead," says Rose Sanderson, co-owner of RJays. She and business partner Jean Cook are closing their doors in the upcoming months due to a "recession that we don't see improving soon".
In their time trading on the main shopping street of Stratford, Jean and Rose have moved premises three times, always staying on Broadway. Each move has seen the pair "fine-tune the business, adding a bit of one thing or changing something we stocked," says Jean.
It was the closure of other shops that led to the life long friends starting their business nine years ago. "When Deka closed and also (local store) The Globe, we saw a need in the town," says Rose. Since then they have seen several stores "quickly start and close again" in Stratford. Jean says according to sales representatives who visit the shop it's all around the country, with lots of shops closing and businesses struggling.
The two women met when they were just 17 years old. "Our husbands were best friends so when we were courting we met each other", they want to "get out before we find ourselves getting into debt".
With eight grandchildren between them (and a ninth on the way) they are also looking forward to "retiring and spending time with little ones". They are sad to say goodbye to customers, many of whom Rose says, have expressed regret that another local store will close "leaving them with less opportunity to shop locally."
Jean says Stratford has become a service town, with less people shopping on the street as more people go out of town to make their purchases.
Originally from the UK, Rose and her husband Eddie moved to New Zealand seeking a better lifestyle, and soon convinced Jean and her husband John to follow them to Stratford. The friends say they have no plans to leave Stratford but are sorry the economic climate of the area means they will have to close-up shop.
Sarah Dazley, chairperson of the Stratford Business Association, thank Rose and Jean for "their contribution over the years, as members of the committee and especially as caretakers of Santa's Cave".