My Lewes: Tizz Johnson, shopkeeper

April 23, 2018

 

 

What’s ‘Tizz’ short for?

 

Nothing. That’s what everyone calls me. If people want to make it shorter, they make it longer, and call me ‘Tizzy’.

 

Are you local?

 

I was born in Aldershot, but that’s just because my Dad was in the army. My great grandfather ran a butcher’s in Lewes. They tell me he was a real gentleman. He was called Sid Crees. Funnily enough his wife was called Sid, too, so they were both called Sid Crees.

 

So you went to school here?

 

I went to Western Road and then to Priory. On my last day there they told me I was something called dyslexic. The teacher I most respected was Mr Harrington, who taught woodwork and metalwork. He was a Mod, and really cool. He also taught me it was OK to be different and that life wasn’t always what it looked like.

 

How long has Tizz’s been going?

 

Thirty-one years. I started selling beads in the Needlemaker’s and moved to this place four years later. I bought the lease in 2000 from Mr Bannerman, who used to run The Gourmet. He roasted his coffee here before it got trendy. It’s been all sorts of things in the past: a bakery, a fur shop, a photographer’s, a launderette, a jeweller’s. At Tizz’s we don’t sell anything useful, but we sell people what they want. It’s been a big success and nobody’s more surprised than me. A lot of that is down to the girls who work here, Kerry and Becs...

 

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