Jempson’s same old story

Jempson's - closed on Sundays

The train pulled in from Hastings, 70 to 80 people got out many headed towards Jempson’s supermarket only for me to tell them they don’t open on Sundays.

“WHAT?” was the answer from them.

[COMMENTS: Pending a decision from the new editor the comments on this story are closed]

Image Credits: Vic Vicarey .


  1. The town of Rye depends somewhat upon the revenue from visitors. When will they, and us who live here, be able to visit a local supermarket on a Sunday. Never if the ‘Rye Gunners’ continue to shoot down any planning applications to build one here! Carbon footprint – what about the convoy of cars that head to Hastings every day for greater choice, rather than the same old monopoly of Jempsons? Come on Rye……..keeping the town quaint is one thing, but being stuck in the stone age is another! Old and new can exist together when enough thought is applied.

  2. One must agree with Gary and Vics comments, this is 2021, not 1951, twice we have been let down in getting a new supermarket for the town,once at Slade yard,and then on the ferry road site. Tenterden has two,and so does Hawkhurst, sadly this town has been sold down the river over the years by some, and it is not healthy for locals, or visitors alike.

  3. I’d love to see an alternative choice of local supermarket in Rye but I’m not sure who Gary’s comments are addressed to ? Since Tesco and Sainsbury pulled out of the lower school battle on economic grounds some years ago what planning applications have been made ? Difficult to shoot them down if they’re not coming

  4. One of the great joys while I was working for Jempsons was the fact we all had Sundays off. Buy your milk on Saturday and keep it in the refrigerator.

  5. I love the fact that there are no supermarkets on a Sunday. A different day! This doesn’t have to be religious.

  6. This needs to be a level playing field, let’s shut everything on a Sunday, I’m quite happy not to have a super market open on a Sunday but I’d be even happier if all the junk/tut/antique/curiosity/bygone days shops were also shut.
    That won’t happen because we need the tourist pennies, most of which doesn’t stay in the town anyway, so it’s off the Hastings or Ashford to do the shopping, doing the shopping locally is all very admirable if you can afford it but not so much fun if you can’t.
    There’s a certain irony in that some some of the wealthier people in Rye can shop local and support the food bank which is visited by those who can’t.
    Build an Aldi/Lidl/Asda or what ever in Rye and watch the people use it, ask locals why they drive past Jempsons any day of the week to get to another super market and there will be one main reason. £

  7. It’s been my understanding that Jempson’s stores are closed on Sunday’s because of the religious beliefs (possibly Quakers ?) of the family. And that’s entirely their right. Personally I think there’s a charm about them being closed on Sunday’s. And let’s factor in that they are open until 10pm most nights which is a major bonus. However, this does not help Sunday tourists.

    However, I must admit I’d love Jempson’s to have some competition regards their prices and for Rye to have more choice. I now save money by buying online and having free home delivery from Ocado and Waitrose. I never would have thought their prices would be cheaper than Jempson’s. And I also would never have believed a weekly shop at a central London supermarket would be cheaper than a weekly shop at Jempson’s. That’s absolutely a fact.

  8. The Costcutter at Skinner’s is much much better than a normal garage shop. It has a good range of essentials and is open very long hours. I was in there the first day it opened, picking up my paper and I couldnt believe my eyes!

    • Andrew McLaren hit the nail on the head Rye shoppers have very little choice in this town, its good to see family owned shops doing well, but regarding the bigger pictùre, jempsons and cost cutter are far too expensive for most,thats why so many have home deliveries and travel to other towns, for better choice,and value for money.

  9. The world has changed since the big supermarket chains looked at Rye with the idea of building a new store. The powerful challenger chains, such as Aldi and Lidl, are opening new stores every week and I doubt whether Rye is far from their gaze. The prospect of having competition in the town should please most people, but of course this part of the country has more than its fair share of reactionary types who come over faint at the suggestion that residents, and visitors, should wish to shop on a Sunday. Their arrogance is breathtaking.

    • I’m curious to know why an Aldi or Lidl would be good competition for Jempson’s which is essentially a stockist for Co-op products. Isn’t Co-op food at the same level as Aldi and Lidl ? Or is your focus on price-point rather than quality and range of produce ?

      I’d also love someone from Jempson’s to explain why prices of some products at Peasmarsh are higher than in Rye. That seems bizarre.

  10. Forgive my scepticism of the original premise, that 70 or 80 tourists (really??) arriving by train are looking to do a supermarket shop. Regardless of the reasons why Jempsons choose to close on Sundays, at least the staff are reassured they have that day off for rest and leisure, good for them. Rye could not be accused of being short of pubs, cafes, restaurants, take-aways, chip shops etc in the town, and there are small shops if you are short of a pint of milk + loaf of bread. I fail to understand the mentality that everything has to be available all the time, a sad inditement of the current culture of the need for constant entertainment.

  11. Right on Kate Humphreys. Totally agree. Jempsons Sunday closure is part of the special features of the little town of Rye.

  12. I shop regularly in Jempsons not because I’m a fan of the shop, I’m not. Overpriced and lack of choice and really poor environmentally – still using polystyrene trays for fruit, meat and veg.

    I use the shop for convenience, that’s all. I support the shop being closed on a Sunday to give the hard working and great staff a day off, I think I can manage for a day!

  13. Excuse Me Kate you have got it wrong I stated 70 to 80 people got off the train from Hastings and many headed towards JEMPSON STORES not all wanting to do supermarket shop as you say you have twisted my honest comments
    If you look at the photo also many was heading towards the bus stop.
    Vic v

  14. It’s jempsons choice to close on a Sunday. This town needs more than one supermarket. It is a holiday hot spot and that will not change. Yes, it’s a fact that people have become switched on about shopping online, one can only observe how many delivery lorries there are. It would be wonderful to have another shop, it’s great to have choice. The reason people shop online is cost in this case. Do not forget Jempsons at the beginning of COVID we’re very accommodating. So thankyou. but, we still need. Omletition.
    The cost cutter shop is useful, but by Sunday the shelves are strippped.
    The reason we did not get a Tesco or Sainsbury’s is due to their own greed. I believe one ie. Tesco or Sainsbury’s owned the entrance I.e. the pub which in turn would not permit the entrance to the opposition supermarket. It became stalemate.

    I don’t think there will be another supermarket in my lifetime, Jempsons are here to Stay. They could sell out, it has been known. Look at Hawkhurst.

  15. Jempson’s is neat, clean, and well stocked. Its staff are friendly and helpful. Its range of products cater for both budgeting households (its many Co-op products) and for those who want something a bit more niche. It keeps its car park and outdoor areas clean, and refurbished the Rye store to give us a much better-looking exterior than the old Budgens. It provides free cash machines. It has a well-run Post Office. It supports the Food Bank and other local charity efforts. It supports local suppliers by stocking their goods.

    And yet…Ryers still constantly complain about not having a messy, ill-managed, uncaring chain store whose low prices are based on exploitation of workers worldwide (somebody is ALWAYS paying for those low prices, let’s not kid ourselves). A chain store that will promise us the earth to get into the town and then once established, will begin cutting corners to keep prices down. A store that’ll blight any part of town where it gets in, if the local chain supermarkets are any indication. How about a nice McDonalds and a Poundland while we’re at it?

    It’s not open on Sunday, the townspeople bleat. And if it were, you’d be complaining about all the extra people flooding into Rye to do their Sunday shop, taking up those parking spaces that are now so handy for our freespending tourists, and not doing the town any good because they’d only be spending money in the supermarket and not in any of Rye’s other retail businesses. Clogging up roads that are already overfull with tourist traffic in the summer.

    Well, this incomer is delighted to have a pleasant, small, independent supermarket to shop in rather than yet another Tesco or Sainsburys or Morrisons or whatever. I always avoided supermarkets in the past but I don’t mind shopping at Jempson’s one bit; what’s more, I notice that the staff there are the same year in, year out, which is always the sign of a good employer. Long live Jempson’s.

  16. It would be helpful and maybe she’d some light on this very emotive subject if Jempsons answered some of the questions and concerns shown here.
    It would be naive in the extreme to think they’re not reading these posts.

  17. Perhaps we ought have another supermarket in Rye that opens on Sundays purely to help out those that are incapable of surviving one day without food shopping.

  18. I would like to politely challenge the statement that the Jempson family might be Quakers. They are not but it is for them to discuss publically or otherwise their religious persuasion.

    • Their own words taken from their own website
      “Family Statement:
      The Jempson family is grateful for the providence of God in our continued success and strives to implement Christian beliefs in the conduct of business.

      Since our founder and grandfather George Jempson commenced trading in 1935 from his small bakery we have never opened our stores on a Sunday. It has been set aside for our colleagues and us to rest and worship if they choose.”

    • C’mon it’s no big deal, the staff are great and you pay a bit more than Aldi, whatever. I must add they need to put the IPA in the fridge! There’s too many versions of the same thing, like 5 ketchups?? extend the range of products, other than that we are lucky to have them

  19. Wouldn’t it be great to step back in time,and have all the national shops that we used to have in Rye back again, competition was healthy for all, but sadly when these stores were taken over by bigger companies, the smaller outlets were closed, in small towns like Rye. Most villagers around Rye would come and shop in town,as we had such variety,sadly not anymore, high petrol prices, and a monopoly have driven these shoppers to other towns like Tenterden, for value for money, but let’s not worry the tourists will make up the shortfall, but getting the locals back for a full shop, and petrol in Rye,will remain a thing of the past.


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