A SHOP that has been open for business for almost four decades is set to close at the end of the month.

Test Valley Sporting Guns, in High Street, Overton, will close its doors on August 31 after owner David Blackman, 71, decided it was time to “ride off into the sunset” and retire.

David said: “The last three or four years have been very difficult anyway and I’m due to retire so I think that’s it. Time to knock it on its head.

“I wanted it to continue as a gun shop,” he added. “I desperately tried to sell it to people in the trade but they are just not interested.”

David cited the rise of the internet as one reason for the lack of interest, with customers increasingly turning to online shopping, buying direct from overseas at prices that traditional retailers can no longer compete with.

He also says the rise of the web had an effect on his store.

“Had the internet not come along I think we would still be busy,” he added.

David has run the shop, along with his wife Sue, for 37 years. He says he has fond memories of Overton and the people he has encountered over the years.

“Overton is a nice place with a good community spirit.

“And I’ve had some very good loyal customers. Lots of people just come in and say thank you for the help over the years, which is nice.”

David confirmed that the “gun club” will continue to run once the shop has closed.

The store, which currently opens three days a week, will also be open every day during its final week of trade, with David offering discounted prices as he intends to sell all his remaining stock.

He also shared a word of thanks to his many customers over the years.

David added: “Thank you to all my loyal customers in the past, because they have been good to me. I have had some good people – you do meet a lot of nice people in the shop.”