Rosy's Handsworth: 'End of an era' as couple sell popular Sheffield convenience store after 37 years

Bill and Rosy Sawhney, who have sold up after 37 years running Rosy's convenience store, on Richmond Park Road, in Handsworth, Sheffield, together
Bill and Rosy Sawhney, who have sold up after 37 years running Rosy's convenience store, on Richmond Park Road, in Handsworth, Sheffield, together

A much-loved couple who ran a popular Sheffield convenience store for nearly four decades have called it the 'end of an era' after selling up.

Harinder Sawhney, better known to customers as Rosy, and her husband Bir, known as Bill, have run Rosy's on Richmond Park Road since 1986.

But Monday, September 18 was the couple's last day in charge after they sold the store to new owners who plan to continue serving the community as their predecessors have done with such dedication.

Rosy's convenience store
Rosy's convenience store

Tributes to the pair have poured in after they announced their departure on a local Facebook group, calling it the 'end of an era' and explaining that they had decided to sell as Bill has been unwell since 2019.

Last day at Rosy's was 'very emotional'

Speaking to The Star, Rosy said: "Our last day was a very emotional one. We've seen people who came in as kids and now have their own children and in some cases even grandchildren. Many of the customers are our friends and we've been to people's funerals.

"We've always tried to be a good local store and make sure people's demands are met. Bill was very good at that. If someone came in and wanted something we didn't have he would tell them not to worry because we'd have it in tomorrow and he sometimes went out of his way to ensure that was the case. You don't get that with any old shop.

"There aren't many proper family-run local stores like this anymore because it's not easy competing against the like of Aldi and Asda but we're proud that we've managed to keep it going for so long, serving the community as we have done."

Rosy and Bill made 'many sacrifices' to build up the store

Rosy described how she had grown up in Sheffield and qualified as a medical secretary there before moving down to London to find work. She and Bill, who had worked as a doctor in his native India, briefly ran a shop in London before heading back up to Sheffield to be near family.

They had a baby and Rosy was pregnant with their second child when they decided to take over a 'run-down' off-licence on Richmond Park Road, beside what was then a Co-op. They had no staff at first and relied on help from family as they built up trade there.

Co-op then applied for a licence to sell alcohol but Rosy and Bill took the company on, arguing there was no need for another licensed store. They won and ended up taking over the Co-op and transforming it into the store customers today know and love.

Rosy told how there had been 'many sacrifices' over the years and they had never even taken a family holiday until around 10 years ago.

"We're looking forward to spending more time with the family now we're retired," said the 64-year-old, who with Bill, aged 70, has two daughters, Selina and Anneka, and four grandchildren.

Highs have outweighed the lows, including racism and armed robbery

Bill was diagnosed in 2019 with an aggressive form of bone cancer and his health remains poor, meaning he has been unable to work at the store. Rosy said selling up would also give them more time together as a couple.

There have been lows during their time at the store, with Rosy explaining how they faced 'a lot of racism' when they first took over in the 80s. And in 2018, The Star reported how Bill had been slashed across the hand trying to prevent an armed robbery.

But Rosy said the highs easily outweighed any lows, thanks mostly to their fantastic customers and staff, and overall it had been a 'wonderful, wonderful experience'.

"I would just like to say thank you to all the customers for supporting our local shop over the years, and to our lovely staff, who will continue to work for the new owners," she added.