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Trader's parting shot as shop closes after 13 years
A DEJECTED Worcester shop owner has closed his business after 13 years amid what he calls a lack of support for independent traders.
John Roe founded specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store Mountainshack in 2000 but closed the doors for the last time on Friday as he struggled to find financial help to keep him going during a difficult trading period.
As the doors closed, shoppers visiting the New Street shop were instead confronted by a two-page letter lambasting the support on offer for small businesses.
Mr Roe said the shop had been profitable for 10 of its 13 years but recent months had been difficult.
“We opened in the year of foot and mouth, which was the worst year for the outdoor industry,” he said. “But this one was just too deep.
“Business rates in town are ridiculous and footfall has dropped so dramatically because the whole arrangement of town has been moved around by Asda.
“We needed some funding to catch up on payments to our suppliers but I just found that was impossible without putting my own house up as collateral. I did that when I started the business 13 years ago – I don’t think I should have to do it again.
“If the banks had helped us out two years ago, when the recession really hit, we would still be there today, perhaps even stronger.”
The note attached to his window, signed by Mr Roe and his staff, said: “It has been a pleasure until that last few years when, because of the crash caused by the banks, it has become nothing but hassle to run a business in this country.”
Hitting out at banks for borrowing money from the taxpayer at low rates but only offering loans at very high rates, the letter also said: “Next time you need a pair of boots and can’t find anywhere to fit them properly, remember why.
“Next time you’re going on a trip and need expert experienced advice and can’t find it, remember why. Next time you have a warranty issue and no one will deal with it professionally, remember why.”
However, the devastated businessman said he got no response from the groups he contacted.
“It was a complete and utter waste of time,” he said. “I had a list and went through them, e-mailing, but got absolutely nothing back.
“What I’m going to do now I just don’t know. As an entrepreneur I’m thinking of moving elsewhere – maybe abroad. Stupid, it’s absolutely stupid.”
Customers with outstanding orders or enquiries can call 07968 213923.
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