'We are not finished with Ipswich.'Christian bookshop set to close after more than 60 years
PUBLISHED: 15:37 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:21 09 January 2019
A beloved book store for Christians is set to shut when its volunteer manager retires.
The well-established Christian Literature Crusade (CLC) Bookshop in St Matthew’s Street has served the Christian community of Ipswich since the 1950s but will close at the end of January.
The CLC is a Christian mission organisation, and its stores are run by Christian volunteers who waive their salary to keep the shops going.
Sadly the normal ravages of retail in the modern world have affected the Ipswich store’s footfall and it will shut once manager Penny Rivett retires.
CLC commerical director Jamie Hill was upset to say goodbye to the Ipswich store.
He said: “Like any other retail store we have found things hard, footfall has reduced, less people are coming into the store and more people are looking online.
“We are then left with the struggle of making a book store viable.
“Penny is one of those volunteers who has waived her salary to run the shop and has done an amazing job.
“But with no one to take her place we have to shut, we will be looking down other avenues.
“We are not finished with Ipswich yet but for now things have to change and the store must close which really saddens me.”
Before moving to its current premises, the Ipswich CLC store was based in the old Carr Street Precinct of the town, part of a major shopping redevelopment in the mid-1960s.
In 1984 the precinct was demolished, with the CLC Bookshop moving to St Matthew’s Street soon after.
Christian Roger Pearse, 58, moved to Ipswich in 1983 and has visited the book store ever since.
Mr Pearse said: “This will be a blow to the Christian community in the area, as there is no other specialist outlet for Christian books in Ipswich.
“It’s not just a bookshop, it has become a focal point for the community.
“Penny has done a fantastic job but I suppose people are now getting to stuff online, hopefully someone can step in and fill the gap.”
The closure will mirror Oasis Christian Shop in Tiptree which will also shut this month after 22 years of trading.
The St Matthew’s Street store will close on Wednesday, January 30.