Great grandson takes the helm at Swanage newsagents

Jenkins newsagents and convenience store in the High Street in Swanage has been taken over by the great grandson of a former owner.

And it’s set to get a restyling which will see it return to an old fashioned look and its original name of H.B.Hibbs.

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Tom Hibbs is the great grandson of Herbert Bruce Hibbs, popularly known as Bruce, who ran the shop from 1927 until 1980, when his son Neville sold it.

Tom Hibbs at Jenkins newsagents on lower high street

Following in his great grandfather’s footsteps – new shopkeeper Tom Hibbs

“Making an ancestor happy”

It was Tom’s father Richard who bought the shop at the end of last year, along with the four bedroomed maisonette above which will be run as a holiday let.

Tom said:

“I suppose I’m working towards that rare achievement in life where you feel you’re making an ancestor happy.

“When this opportunity dropped in my lap, I thought it would be a disservice if I didn’t at least give it a go because I would learn a lot.”

Tom and his father Richard

Learning on the job

A graduate of English literature and creative writing, it is Tom who’s in charge of the day-to-day running. He admits he’s learning on the job.

He said:

“I spent a lot of time in corner shops as a kid but nothing to this level of responsibility.

“It may be me at the wheel, but I’ve got people in the background to give me guidance.”

HB Hibbs
Jenkins newsagents on lower high street

The newsagents past and present on the corner of lower High Street and Park Road in Swanage

“Rediscovering my roots”

Tom grew up in North Wales and worked at Wetherspoons after leaving school, which gave him some business and customer service experience. He has fond memories of holidays spent in Swanage.

He said:

“I’m rediscovering my roots. A large part of my father’s family hail from around here, going all the way back.

“David Hibbs was a lifeboat oarsman who was born in Corfe Castle and he was the father of H.B. Hibbs. They lived in The White House which is now the Swanage Information Centre.”

HB Hibbs

Tom hopes to restore the shop to its original look

“Go back in time”

Tom added:

“I feel I’m a student of history as much as literature. And this is an opportunity to go back in time.

“Swanage is one of those places where history is an important part of the present.”

Jenkins newsagents on lower high street

Customers have already said they remember his grandfather and great grandfather

Old-fashioned but modern

The shop was previously owned and run by Martin and Betty Slater for about 13 years.

A lot of people have already told Tom they remember his grandfather and great grandfather.

Tom said:

“I’d like to create a place that is old fashioned in terms of style but modern in terms of how the business operates.”

David Hibbs
Hibbs Family
Neville Hibbs
Hibbs family

Top: David Hibbs, Tom’s great great grandfather. Below: Tom’s grandfather Neville Hibbs

“Friendly face and a catch up”

Tom added:

“One of the most overlooked aspects of smaller newsagents is the way they provide a friendly face and a catch up or idle conversation with someone you know.

“Supporting your local economy is something I believe we should all strive to do.”

There is a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but Tom says:

“It would be nice for people to come back for the summer season and see an old-fashioned looking shop again. That’s the plan.”

Tom Hibbs at Jenkins newsagents on lower high street

Convenience shopping and a friendly welcome

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