A FAMILY-RUN camping shop is the latest town centre business to announce it is closing.

Campcraft on Newport Street has traded in Bolton since 1964, but staff will zip up their tents for the final time next month after 56 years.

“My father ran the shop and I joined when I left school in 1985,” said owner Alistair Biggs. “We’ve seen a lot over the years but retail has changed drastically and although we’ve managed to keep going through recessions and the foot and mouth crisis, the internet and now Covid-19 have been the nails in the coffin.”

Campcraft sell everything from tents to rucksacks and maps, but have specialised in boot fitting.

“I have 35 years experience of fitting, but more and more you would get people coming in saying they had bought boots off the internet and they had really hurt their feet,” said Alistair.

“We’d measure their feet and even modify boots and then they would Google a price on the internet and ask us to match it and if we couldn’t they’d just go.

“It’s tragic really as this was one of my favourite parts of the job and I loved helping people find the right boot and sending them away happy.”

Alistair’s father, Michael, first began selling Scout and Guide uniforms before taking over the business, and despite retirement he has been a constant presence at the shop.

“The shop became his life,” said Alistair. “Customers would come in as kids and then we’d seem them after they went to college or joined the army and then they’d be bringing their kids in.

“My dad is disappointed but he sees the way things are going - when it comes down to knowing that the only way you can sell things is by being the cheapest there’s no point.”

Alistair, whose wife Amanda runs Thyme Deli in Horwich, is now going to concentrate on setting up his own handyman business.

“I’m known as ‘The Rivington Handyman’ on Facebook and I’m busy,” he said. “So many people are working from home and they’re thinking ‘this room needs a paint or that gate needs fixing’. I’m lucky that as one door closes another is opening.”

Alistair, 50, will launch a closing-down sale this week.

“The town centre is getting quieter,” he added. “It’s time to do something different.”