‘It just isn’t financially viable’ – South Shields shop set to close after trading for nearly 39 years in the town centre
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The shop originally opened in 1984 on Station Road under its first owner before Colin Smout took it over in 1991 and moved to Fowler Street.
Colin, from South Shields, has been running the store for 32 years but has now made the difficult decision to close for good on Saturday, March 25, after it is no longer financially viable to keep trading.
The 59-year-old said: "The town is so quiet, we just don't have the footfall anymore; the last three months especially have been diabolical.
"It is sad to be closing after trading for so long but we can’t compete with bigger retailers and their internet sales; it was always going to grind down small businesses.
"Covid impacted us as we were branded ‘non-essential’ and as a result, customers had to learn to get goods elsewhere.
“Then the cost of living crisis, plus the rise of inflation just means that everyone is tightening their spending whenever possible.
“It just isn’t financially viable for the shop to remain open any longer.”
Since it was announced that the shop would be closing, Colin has been inundated with support from customers wishing him well for the future.
He added: "I’m gutted at the state of the town centre because it is my town centre, I was born and bred in South Shields.
"It is so sad to see all the empty shops with their shutters down, the town centre as a whole just looks grey and there is a lot that is needed to be done to restore it.
"My time here is coming to an end and it has been a long journey but I do believe that South Shields will pull itself round but it will be a very long time before that happens.
"I’ve had some great customers over the years, in the past I’ve had women bring in their daughters to get their ears pieced as I did theirs when they were a child.”
"Since I announced that I was closing for good I’ve had customers coming in and wishing me well and I’ve also had some lovely compliments both on social media and in person."