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In a retail blow for Whiting Bay the Bay News store is to close at the end of next month.
Owners Tim and Bev Hodkinson say it is a real disappointment for them but they simple cannot afford to go on trading at a loss. It is the second outlet to close in the village in months after The Shore takeaway and cafe closed in May.
However, Tim, who has run the shop since 2002, is determined that the shop should remain a commercial outlet. It is presently available for lease or sale from October for retail use and planning permission is being sought for the premises to be used for professional use such as a beauty salon, pet parlour, estate agency etc. The shop extends to around 90 sq m.
Tim told the Banner that the couple had been desperately trying to keep the shop open for the sake of the village but had been been forced to close due to the fact it was making a ‘catastrophic loss’.
‘For the past three years we have been putting our own money into the shop through the winter to keep it open. In the past 11 years we have seen our profits drop 70 per cent in real terms,’ he added.
Tim explained that there was just no longer a sufficient footfall of customers in Whiting Bay and that online sales and cheaper prices elsewhere, particularly the Co-op stores, on the island, had led to the demise of the shop. The expansion of the Lamlash store and the Co-op’s decision to sell newspapers was yet further blows which hit turnover.
He said he had been told by a business adviser that they were ‘doing nothing wrong’. ‘When we bought the shop in 2oo2 we were the only ones out of the 36 people to look around it that thought we could make a go of it. Sadly that dream in now over,’ he revealed.
Tim said he was desperately keen for someone to take over the shop ‘for the good of the village’ and provide employment. He said he would even be willing to take less than the full rent if it was a business which was beneficial to the village.
He said he and his wife, who is not in the best of health, had reached the stage in their lives where they could consider ‘early retirement’ although for the time being Tim intends to the continue to his career as an IT consultant. The couple plan to continue to live on the island.
The one bedroom beach apartment above the shop is not included in the lease but if any party is interested in buying the shop outright, including the beach apartment above if required, then this will be considered.
The Bay News store in Whiting Bay. NO_B32bay01