December 12 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 29, 2013
People in Wymondham are being given a chance to ensure a popular shop survives by helping to turn it into a community enterprise.
The owner of The Book Fountain in Wharton’s Court, Robert Smith, is due to retire at the end of the year and people living in the town are being urged to get involved and help it continue.
Mr Smith, who has run the bookshop for more than seven years, said: “It would be sad to see the shop go but it’s time for me to move on. I think it would benefit from a fresh approach.
“I have enjoyed my time here and have met some lovely people, made some great friends and have some loyal customers.”
Former English teacher Ray Rumsby is forming a group to take over the running of the business and turn it into a community bookshop.
“The shop does make a profit but it has been hit by the online retailers. It may have to be set up as a community trust or a social enterprise,” he said. “Big commercial chains are not going to open up in small places like Wymondham.
“A community bookshop can cater for local interest and for children – something large retailers like Amazon can’t do very well. We need to teach children to love books rather than stick a Kindle in their hands.”
Mr Rumsby, who lives in Little Melton, said the market town was characterised by its independent shops.
“There are 280 community shops in the UK and only 10 have failed. The success rate is higher than that of the average start up.”
Mr Rumbsy has also spoken with the team behind a community bookstore in Devon.
He is appealing for a group of six to eight people with different skills to help drive the business forward and ensure another independent shop is not lost from the town centre.
A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 17, at 7.30pm at the Cross Keys pub. Anyone who would like to get involved is welcome to attend.