Rates hike forces out trader
A SHOPKEEPER in Frinton has warned that the resort could return to times of depression because local businesses cannot afford to pay sky-high rents.Monmouth Emporium in Connaught Avenue has had record sales in recent months but is being forced to close after 10 years because of a 70 % increase in rent.
A SHOPKEEPER in Frinton has warned that the resort could return to times of depression because local businesses cannot afford to pay sky-high rents.
Monmouth Emporium in Connaught Avenue has had record sales in recent months but is being forced to close after 10 years because of a 70 % increase in rent.
The store gained fame for its old-fashioned style, mass of stock, and friendly service.
But now owner Malcolm Chapman, 59, believes a national company prepared to pay the increasing costs for premises will move in next year.
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He said had it not been for the work of local “entrepreneurs” 10 years ago, when the town was suffering with shops standing empty, Frinton would not be attractive to bigger businesses today.
Mr Chapman said: “When we arrived the national companies wanted out and they got out, but now they want back in because the situation has been turned around.
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“All of us here are very proud of the success we have had, it is really just starting to pay off, but this is a killer blow. I think if people don't own their shops, they are going to have problems.”
Mr Chapman warned the changes could lead to Frinton losing the appeal, which attracts visitors.
He said: “Connaught Avenue is still very different to High Streets all around the country – it is made up of local people and that is what is going to change.
“Then it will turn full circle and people won't want to come and it will lose its appeal and be back to where it was 10 years ago, but that is the way of life.”
He added negotiations were ongoing about the business, but he believed it would close sometime in the early part of next year.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been concerned in the success of the business. Frinton is a very special place. Our customers have been friendly and loyal,” he added.
Monmouth Emporium will be making large reductions on its remaining stock and there will be special offers to coincide with late night shopping in the town later this week.
Frinton Town councillor, Terry Allen, said it was a shame the shop was closing.
“There are lots of reasons why shops shut, all we can do as a council is help to do what we can under our jurisdiction to help the shopkeepers.
“But the rates are national and we have no control over them - it is market forces,” he said.
Mr Allen added he hoped any new businesses coming into Connaught Avenue would be retail ones.