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It is up to us to save our small local shops
IT WAS a cold windswept Sunday and I was relieved to find Atherton’s newsagent on High Ousegate open so that I could buy some postage stamps and step into somewhere warm.
“I was happy to still find you open,” I said to the proprietor. Her face fell and I couldn’t help but notice the pain in her voice when she said: “Not for much longer.”
This shop has survived 28 years of economic ups and downs, and I gathered it was the close proximity of Tesco that had created unfair competition for her.
I will miss the friendly professional service provided by the staff at Atherton and begin to wonder what will become of the other small friendly businesses threatened by big business conglomerates.
Tesco when it arrives in Goodramgate will no doubt send further shock waves and cause yet more closures.
We all do have a choice however. Either support local shops, or lose them forever. And if that happens, York will become a poorer place because of it.
Phil Shepherdson, Chantry Close, Woodthorpe, York.
• HOW sad to hear that Athertons in Nessgate is closing (The Press, April 23), apparently ousted by Tesco – which plans to open another shop, in Goodramgate and perhaps hurt another newsagent. But Tesco isn’t the only threat to newsagents.
In Fulford Broadway a year ago, the Co-op started selling papers and magazines, prevented earlier by a ten-year agreement following the purchase of land from Broadway Post Office next door.
I wrote to the Co-op boss, Peter Marks, asking him to reconsider. The friendly, family-run post office was already a specialist newsagent, stocking hundreds of titles, and there was no need for the Co-op to start cherry-picking its volume trade.
A belated, unhelpful reply from customer relations ignored my reasons; two more letters got no answer.
Presumably most people who now buy papers from Broadway Co-op switched from the post office, perhaps without really thinking about it. But supermarkets don’t take volume trade from specialist newsagents unless we help them.
This is the crux. Up to now in York, no one has to buy papers or magazines in a supermarket. But how long will that be true? It’s up to us!
John Heawood, Eastward Avenue, Fulford.
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