The picture above would have been a familiar sight to many shoppers during the late 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and early 1990’s.
The business was set up by two Polish ex-servicemen, Napoleon Szenher and Zbigniew Gorne, who came to Scunthorpe after the Second World War, they started with virtually nothing and, over the next 35 years, built up a million pound business, attracting customers from all over the world.
After the war and settling in Britain Napoleon Szenher had no thoughts of handouts or benefits as he created his business mending kettles, he met with Zbigniew Gorne and in 1952 the two men went into partnership opening their first small shop on the corner of Home Street.Four more shops followed in Scunthorpe including one on Market Hill and another on Mary Street with another two being in Leeds and Huddersfield though in 1967 it was decided they would concentrate all their activities under one roof. TV personality Hughie Green came to perform the grand opening of the new ‘all in one’ shop, there was sherry, wine, beer, and other refreshments for the customers and anyone placing an order with a deposit for carpets, lino or furniture, received a bottle of wine or a food hamper. S&G kept their overheads low so they could offer value to their customers.
Many people will remember S&G selling furniture, curtains, carpets and more but in the early days their shops also stocked items which were army stock surplus, war grave wooden crosses being among their most bizarre item on offer in the 1950’s. The American steel helmets were said to be a particular favourite with schoolboys.
One story made local and national headlines in the 1950’s when a university found its stargazing activities were restricted for the lack of a replacement reflector for its telescope. Such a reflector was known to be a component of a wartime searchlight, then out of production and consigned to the realms of antiquity. An appeal was launched and S&G picked up on it and amongst their old wartime stock was the very thing.
The shop continued to flourish through the 70’s & 80’s – in the 1970’s they opened a second outlet on nearby Chapel Street, in the premises of the former Kirman’s Store – but by the 1990’s trading conditions had seen the business hitting hard times and on 22nd November 1993 ceased trading of more than 40 years with the loss of all jobs. A firm of Chartered Accountants from Lincoln had advised the company with regards to putting it into liquidation, a public notice from the liquidator later announced the firm was to be voluntary wound up on, or before, 28th February 1994.
In mid January 1994, auctioneers reported great interest as they sold off the stock, fixtures and fittings. They had cleared 388 items remaining from a pre-Christmas clearance sale organised by DDM on behalf of the receivers.
The S&G site made way in 1997 for the new £3million Church Square Council Offices which stands there today.