HE'S believed to be the longest serving ironmonger in Southampton and beyond.

John Decicco, the man behind John's DIY & General Store in Sholing, has been in the trade since the age of 15. He is now 68.

His well-stocked shop, in Botany Bay Road, is an old school ironmonger with a modern twist stocking everything from home and gardening equipment to tea strainers and from bath bombs and wax melts to greetings cards.

ALSO READ: Shimmer Candles are delighting Southampton shoppers

Loose nuts and bolts are a particular favourite of many customers as they don't tend to be available singly in the larger DIY chain stores.

Daily Echo:

John started his career as a teenager at Russells of Sholing in South East Road where he did everything an ironmonger was expected to do, from cutting glass to funeral directing.

Russells had a loyal local following, having been around before the likes of B&Q and Wickes.

Many of those customers followed John when members of the Russell family retired and closed their shop after many years of trading and John's DIY Store was born, next to Sholing Service Station, in 2002.

John sold all his personal possessions and lived in a Bedford Rascal van for six months to give the business the best possible chance of survival in its early days.

Paul Haslett started at the same time and has been working with John ever since.

The business has gone from strength to strength as it was allowed to continue to open during the pandemic.

Daily Echo:

John told the Daily Echo: "We are so grateful to the local customers who have supported us though the years as we know we wouldn't be here without them. We are truly a local community business.

"Our years of experience and customer service make us stand out. Customers love the banter, the service. and being valued, instead of just dealing with drones in big stores who do not even smile behind the counter.

"I think people need to use local stores before they are wiped out by the multinational companies. There used to be a stigma that small shops were expensive, which may be true in some cases, but customers are starting to value what small businesses have to offer.

"Hopefully it wont be too late.as there used to be ten ironmongers in Southampton, but now there are only three left. When there are no small stores left, people will be slaves to the big stores who will dictate prices and quality of products.

"There's a lot of truth in the saying 'use it or lose it'.

  • John's DIY & General Store is our trader of the week. If you'd like us to feature your local business, click on the link below or email lorelei.reddin@dailyecho.co.uk