Use them or lose them

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IT is not a phenomenon these days to walk past empty shops closed for lack of trade, increasing business rates etc.

For better or worse we have come to accept proliferation of superstores in town and out. They are driven by deliberate urge, though they will not admit it, to expand business in all commodities into areas once dominated by small shops and personal service.

Superstores have changed the style of shopping, but they do not make a town. It is small businesses which hold the key to whether a community is adjudged alive or dead.

Tough fiscal austerity applies the clamp on all forms of business and large stores with billions of pounds shoring them up are better adapted to cope. A regular flow of people along pavements does help, but traders ‘round the corner’ and the corner shop need help as well.

It is not generally realised if a shop, part of a small group, closes its door, the neighbouring shops are affected as well, like a domino effect. There are fewer passers-by.

A shop with reasonable business attracts customers and they are aware of neighbouring business premises. If one wants a town to survive it depends on the townspeople to carry their needs to small traders.

Put back profit into the small shops. Use them or lose them, and a bit of the town too.

TREVOR BEVIS

March