Issued: August 1, 2016
PICTURES: Pictures can be viewed and downloaded HERE (Credit: Everything Local News)
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing unveils plaque to mark shop's 50th anniversary
The 50th anniversary of an Epping shop has been marked with the unveiling of a plaque by Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing - and a visit from Peppa Pig, George and Peter Rabbit.
Mrs Laing was joined by Epping mayor Les Burrows for the plaque unveiling at Piccola childrens' clothing and toy shop in the High Street on Saturday morning as crowds gathered outside the premises which opened for the first time exactly 50 years ago.
Mrs Laing said: “Piccola is a very special place. It is not just a shop, it is an institution. At a time when so many of our shops are parts of a chain, it is really wonderful that we have such an individual place here in Epping providing high quality clothes and traditional toys.
"That is what loyal customers really appreciate, so it is no surprise that Piccola has gone from strength to strength over fifty years.
"I used to spend lots of time here when my son was little. Like many mothers I really appreciated that I could let him choose a little present knowing that it would be both safe and educational.
"He called Piccola 'the Noddy shop' because his favourite Saturday activity was to ride in Noddy’s car and listen to Noddy singing.
"I was delighted to unveil the commemorative plaque outside Piccola and to have the opportunity to wish Janet and Carol and their families all the very best for the next fifty years."
Piccola celebrated its special anniversary by welcoming the official licensed characters of Peppa Pig and her brother George, as well as Peter Rabbit, who met dozens of delighted children, and adults.
The occasion also saw the presentation of a framed certificate from Epping Town Council, presented to the founding owners of Piccola, sisters-in-law Janet Marcantonio and Carol Venditti, by Epping mayor Les Burrows.
Both Janet and Carol still serve behind the counter.
Janet said: "We're so happy to reach this incredible landmark. When Piccola first opened television was in black and white, the Beatles were at their height and people paid for things in shillings and pence, so it's genuinely amazing to think that we're still going strong 50 years later."
She added: "It's been a wonderful journey which has enabled us to be a part of the lives of so many children as they grew up, and it's been even more rewarding to see them return to us as adults to shop for their own sons and daughters. Now we're even seeing customers who first came to Piccola as a child visiting us to buy presents for their grandchildren.
"You can only last in business for 50 years if you have loyal and generous customers and so, above all else, we'd like to thank the wonderful people of Epping for their friendship and kindness over the past half century.
"It's been an honour and a privilege to have been a small part of the history of our great town and its amazing community, and we're so humbled, even now, that the people of Epping still choose to come to us to buy things for their little ones.
"If we have been able to bring happiness to the lives of the children of Epping and their families over the last half century, then the fifty years that Carol and I have spent behind the counter at Piccola will certainly have been time well spent."