Farewell to Mike…

by Anthony Coppin

One of Garstang’s most popular traders, who has spent almost three decades in the town’s commercial community, has sold his busy Church Street business.
Mike Thornton, 53, set up Mike’s Sportsworld in 1987 after identifying a gap in the market locally for sportswear and sports gear.
The business grew and in more recent years added school uniforms to its stock – making Mike one of the best known traders in the area among sports enthusiasts of all ages and youngsters and their parents.
Mike, who lives at Cockerham with wife Allison said: “Over the past two or three years we’ve had a couple of companies look at us. Selling has been in the back of my mind, but I wanted to make sure we were selling to a firm which had a similar ethos to the way we have operated.”
He declined to say how much his business, which also included a Lancaster city centre outlet, has been sold for. The new owners, Uniform and Leisurewear of Morecambe, which already has outlets in Morecambe, Blackpool and Kirkham, took over last week.
The new owners are retaining the current workforce full timer Damian Mercer and three part-time staff.
Over the past 28 years Mike’s Sportsworld has frequently won the Garstang ‘Shop of the Year’ contest. Mike also ran the popular “sporty pupil” contests involving many rural schools whose athletic pupils vied for the coveted Sportsworld trophy.
Mike, whose Sportsworld business has had four premises around the town centre since 1987, said: “I have hugely fond memories of my time here. Garstang has been a fantastic place to work.”
Although leaving town’s business heart he stresses he is not retiring, and will be retaining his links with the district through his role on the leadership team of Garstang Free Methodist Church. He is hoping to find a new job in agricultural sales.
He will also continue to run Garstang Spartans football team and keep up with the progress of his beloved Preston North End, where he is a regular attender at the club’s Deepdale ground.