Work on bridge has shut me down

Cotswold Journal: END OF AN ERA: Stuart Brown, owner of Tiles Naturally, has been hit by a trading downturn. END OF AN ERA: Stuart Brown, owner of Tiles Naturally, has been hit by a trading downturn.

AFTER more than a decade of trading, an Evesham business is being forced to close its showroom following “a dramatic loss of turnover” since work to replace the Abbey Bridge began.

Tiles Naturally in Abbey Road, has been in the town for more than 12 years but owner Stuart Brown says while he is heartbroken to close, it is impossible to carry on any longer after losing half his regular income.

He said: “There have been months of stress and frustration.

Fortunately, our landlord is prepared to release us from our lease ahead of time and we will be closing on February 28 following a closing down sale.”

Despite the showroom closure Mr Brown is hoping to continue trading elsewhere.

“While it is a great shame to have to leave our current showroom, we hope to keep trading from alternative, less expensive premises.

“Being forced to leave our showroom is heartbreaking, but sadly the harsh economic realities brought about by the bridge replacement gives us no alternative particularly as there is no compensation from the council in respect of loss of profit and income for Evesham’s traders.”

After discovering the fate of the shop, Evesham town councillor John Smith, who is also county council member for highways, visited the store.

He said: “As one of the local members for the town I have sympathy with traders and I am disappointed to hear that Tiles Naturally may have to close. If the shop has a case for business rate relief we can help them to go through the appropriate channels, to see if they can get help with this. The county council, along with Wychavon District Council, will continue to do all it can to help Evesham and its traders remain open.”

Over on the other side of Evesham, Dave Packwood from the Bait Box, a fishing shop, in High Street, said they are also finding it tough.

“We are really struggling up here,” said Mr Packwood.

“The parking at this end of town is terrible. By this time of year we have usually sold 200 to 250 gift vouchers and this year we have only sold three. I am not surprised there are businesses that won’t see it out.”

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