The career pattern of the Rossiter sisters is remarkably similar to that of Marianne Gush and her sister who founded Gush and Son in Budleigh Salterton in 1842. (Go to BudleighinKelly1939Commercial to read the story of Gush & Son). We tend to think of Victorian women as financially dependent, timid and incapable of business acumen. Both Jane and Sarah were married within a few months of their shop opening its doors and set about founding a family dynasty which would steer the business very successfully for many years to come. Jane retired at the time of her marriage and played no further part in the business.
Over time, the business outgrew the little shop in Winner Street where the owners , their families and their staff had lived over the shop. Sarah and her family moved to Palace Avenue, Paignton's main shopping street, in 1888, and over the years, acquired adjacent shops to enlarge their premises still further, making room for the new "departments they were gradually adding. In 1934, the family partnership was converted into a private limited company with four directors including Sarah Rossiter's son "Mr Frank" who, as the 1901 census shows. followed the family tradition in living above the shop at 7 Palace Avenue.
Sarah married a distant cousin, Robert Tucker Rossiter who was a Master mariner and so was often absent from home for long periods. Thus, in an age when a woman's property passed automatically to her husband upon marriage, Sarah remained free to make business decisions on her own behalf and this she did with great skill. In 1908, Rossiter and Son (as the Company was then known) celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 1934, the family partnership was converted into a private limited company with four directors including Sarah Rossiter's son " Mr Frank" - Sarah herself having died in 1923 aged 93.