WE were once famously called by Napolean a nation of shopkeepers, but if he were alive today he would be hard-pressed to level that accusation at us now.
For our high streets have been taken over by corporate chains and individuality has faded as shopkeepers have struggled to compete with them.
The last real vestiges of the independent seem to be in our suburbs.
But even they now seem to be under competitive attack.
The spread of “local” stores by the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury is fast putting paid to the existence of our independent traders.
The supermarkets argue they act as a magnet for shoppers to come and spend their money with the independents.
But there is little real evidence of that.
So it is with some sadness that we report on the feared demise of one of Sheffield’s oldest hardware stores - Williamson Hardware, in Broomhill, which has been a family-run business for 52 years.
It is rumoured that a supermarket chain is interested in taking over the building which is owned by a landlord.
Should that prevail then Williamson’s will be no more and another part of our history - the hardware store - where great service and knowledge rests with the retailer - will be lost.
The parade of shops in Broomhill is fast becoming like any other high street, with a loss of individuality.
Let us hope that the strength of local feeling will prevail and Williamson’s is able to continue trading.
Don’t be shy, go and see your GP
IT’S a difficult talking point for men - in fact more often than not it is never a talking point - the state of their health.
And a trip to the GP is frequently made far too late.
Research shows that 41 per cent of men who discover a lump never get it checked out by a doctor and 30 per cent hope it will go away on its own.
Today marks the beginning of Men’s Health Week - with a focus on testicular cancer - an uncomfortable subject for blokes.
The message to men is keep a regular check on yourself - because the sooner you detect something wrong the easier it is to cure,
Just ask Dave Drabble who caught the symptoms early and is now a picture of good health.
And our appeal is not only to men - women can play their part by encouraging their partners to self-examine.
Simply ignoring the problem will not make it go away.