Shop’s sad loss

PUBLISHED: 12:41 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010

I am writing from Burgess Bookshop which sadly closed down on Saturday, April 29. May I, through your paper, thank everyone who came in to offer their support, thanks and best wishes. The business had been trading for over 70 years – it was one of the old

I am writing from Burgess Bookshop which sadly closed down on Saturday, April 29.

May I, through your paper, thank everyone who came in to offer their support, thanks and best wishes. The business had been trading for over 70 years - it was one of the oldest shops in town, so there were many reminiscences and regrets from the public.

We had literally hundreds of well-wishers over the last few weeks - so many that I began to wonder why we were being forced to close down at all. We have always tried to make the shop part of the local community and it was very gratifying to realise how well loved it was.

However, as one customer said, goodwill does not pay the rent, and the last straw - the arrival of the big boys on top of increased competition from the internet, direct sellers, supermarkets, etc., has forced us out.

I know from the comments made how many people are anxious to retain the small town ethos of local, individual and original shops, rather than follow the homogenous pattern that seems to be spreading across the country. As we all know, there are many regrets about some of the past developments that have been made in the town in the name of progress - please don't let us one day say why did we let it happen when we realise that all the small traders have been swept away by chain stores.

There seems to be some kind of silent pact by landlords and their agents to keep rents in Hitchin way above the national average, they are killing the geese who lay their golden eggs. It is a real struggle for individual traders to survive - they need your support.

So please, vote with your feet (if you had come to us in December, we would not be going now), take your custom to the little people. Buy your maps from Merryfields, order your books from Eric Moore, choose Halseys, Allinghams and John Webb above the supermarkets. Wander along the Churchyard and visit the shops there - if you do not choose them, you will lose them.

Remember we were not waving but drowning.

ANN BARRINGTON, Burgess Books, Churchyard, Hitchin


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