Everything but the kitchen sink

Terry and Ann Lawson of the Gift Shop in Staithes. Photo by Dave Barry w111909
Terry and Ann Lawson of the Gift Shop in Staithes. Photo by Dave Barry w111909

IF you can’t buy it in Terry and Ann Lawson’s shop then you probably don’t need it –and that goes for your Whitby Gazette too.

It is the only newspaper they have sold in their Staithes shop for years.

The shop might be called The Gift Shop but there is so much more than that – jigsaws, postcards (with images taken by Terry himself), sweets, biscuits, teabags, groceries, shampoo, toilet brushes, coal buckets and clothes pegs.

Terry and Ann have been in this business for a long time and know what they’re on with.

Ann said: “People are always fascinated by this shop.

“We don’t sell sinks but everything else.

“We even have stuff on the ceiling – but if people are staying in a cottage and there isn’t a carving knife they will come here for one and will pick up something else.”

They started at the shop in 1968 and in the 43 years that have followed they, like almost every other local business, have had to branch out as demand and social lifestyles change.

They used to sell eggs, margarine and milk for the local workmen and all the daily papers but when Terry had a heart attack in the shop one day, they had to take stock.

Ann said: “When the papershop closed about 16 years ago we took all the daily papers but when Terry had two heart attacks it was after that we decided that was it.

“It happened here and when the paperman came at 5am the next morning I said ‘will you take them all back’?”

That was all of them except the Whitby Gazette but that’s because Terry, who worked in the industry for years, knows how important a local paper is to the community.

The Gift Shop sells 15 Tuesday copies a week and up to 50 on a Friday.

It might not sound much but then there are only 12 children under the age of 16 living in Staithes bottom.

Terry said: “Sales vary on the stories and very much if there are local articles.

“When I was the Gazette’s village correspondent for Staithes and the launching authority for the lifeboat I always made sure they got a good report.

“That sort of local interest does sell newspapers – there is no question the job of a local newspaper is local interest.

“There is enough sensationalism with everything else.

“You don’t need that with a local paper.

“People buy it for tide times, fishing results – local papers have a very important role to fulfil.”