F.W. Gerry. Grocer

**This article is reproduced from an earlier 2002 version - see 2009 update at the bottom.

There are some people that you just have to say 'cheers' to, and Albert and Steve, proprietors of F.W. Gerry in Marlborough Street, are those people. F.W. Gerry have been trading in Marlborough Street for 45 years**. Fred Gerry, their dad, had his first fruit and veg stall in Devonport in 1956 - at the top of Marlborough Street, where the open car-park is sited. It wasn't long before he opened his first shop in the street, just 50 yards down the road from his stall.

I liked Fred. My mum liked Fred. Everybody liked Fred. When I was little and sent to his shop by my mum, for her 'half a stone of potatoes please'.......he used to give me free apples. He'd lean over to his box on the floor, and without straightening up he would throw one underarm at me. Which I loved. And his sons Albert and Steve were never very far away. I can hear my mum now, in our kitchen, saying "old Fred idolises those boys".

By 1959 Fred had moved across the road in Marlborough Street to a bigger shop. His range of produce became wider too - the shop remains there to this day. 'Those boys' of course took over when their dad passed away. Here is a picture of Steve snapped at the front of the fruit shop in August 2001.


I was telling my sister recently, about the way Fred Gerry used to give us kids free apples if he felt a little bit sorry for us. And she told me how it wasn't just Fred, it was the boys also. When she was pregnant many years back, and fancying green cooking apples every two minutes, she recalls telling Albert about this fancy whilst at his shop one day. Apparently, for weeks after that, each time she passed the shop Albert would come to the front door and throw her a green cooking apple - all the while she was pregnant.

Albert now has the end corner shop in Marlborough Street, while Steve remains in the grocers half way up. This picture below of Albert in the door of the corner shop, smiling as ever, was taken in August 2001.


Fred would be proud to see them now, that's for sure. They have never deserted Devonport people. Marlborough Street has been run-down at times, yet they have stayed true, not only clinging on through difficult times but also taking a second shop, down on the corner. The fruit shop remains as 'F.W.Gerry. Grocers' to this day. I should have asked Albert what he called the corner shop - it sells a range of produce/groceries - so I wouldn't be surprised if it was also called F.W.Gerry. Grocers. (Liz Cook 2002)

Update: 2009

Albert retired from the corner shop c2007; Steve had retired from the greengrocers at number 23 a year or two earlier. F.W.Gerry had been a long-time and popular family-run businesses in Devonport - serving the community for almost 50 years.