Abrupt shop closure is sad but no surprise

Abrupt shop closure is sad but no surprise

Peter Ellard, Gary Smith (Business Owner), Roy Stride, Greg Churchouse , Ben Jackson, Natalie Boyles, Gary Bell, Dave Vigoureux celebrating the success of the Scouting for Girls visit to Rapture.

Queues of fans outside Rapture in Evesham waiting to see a performance by Scouting for Girls.

Scouting for Girls performing in Rapture in Evesham in September 2012.

First published in News
Last updated

THE owner of an independent record store in Evesham forced to shut down after a period of hard times has blasted the way the town is being run.

Gary Smith, owner of Rapture, closed his Evesham store earlier this month after eight years blaming months of tough trading conditions in the town.

The abrupt closure of the popular shop in the Riverside Centre, which welcomed celebrities including Newton Faulkner, Scouting for Girls and McFly, has left yet another empty retail unit, which Mr Smith says is no surprise after a "long line of howlers" made by those in charge.

He said: "Unfortunately the people responsible for running Evesham town centre have the let the good people of Evesham down.

"The bridge fiasco is just the latest in a long line of real howlers, but to ruin Christmas trade in that way was unforgivable. Whoever let Tesco drag Next, Argos, etc, away from the town also needs to be named and shamed in my opinion.

"Evesham needs some radical thinking, I have lots of ideas, many probably unworkable, but something needs to be done."

Despite this Mr Smith added it was not all down to the town and thanked his "incredible" staff and all their customers, which he said had become friends. "The townsfolk of Evesham have been fantastic, we’ve had a lot of laughs."

The sad shut down of Rapture comes after the re-opening of Evesham's Abbey Bridge, which was closed for nearly six months over the Christmas period.

But the knock on effect of the closure is still being felt, says Tony Rowland, chairman of the Vale of Evesham Commerce and Tourism Association.

"I feel the town has suffered a tragic loss, in hindsight the bridge project was fundamentally flawed before it even started. Unfortunately we are still seeing the after effects.

"I am very sad Rapture has gone, I am not surprised. You can't blame the town entirely but I am sure it exacerbated the situation.

"The situation is evolving. In the future we will see more of a cafe culture in the town."

This idea is supported by chairman of the Evesham Market Town Partnership and town and district councillor Gerry O'Donnell, who said many people were working hard to move the town forward.

"It's about retail yes, but about leisure and food and beverage. It's about providing space for the population. It's multi faceted because Evesham is the unique selling point."

Evesham's new mayor Cllr Charlie Homer added he was sad to see the closure of Rapture but it was important for all the organisations in the town to work together to move forward.

Comments (6)

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8:44am Thu 15 May 14

MarkSG says...

Much as it's always a disappointment when a shop closes, I really don't think that the loss of Rapture can be blamed on the bridge saga, or indeed any decisions made by any of the organisations running Evesham.

As the Journal points out in its own editorial, independent record shops are an endangered species across the whole of the country. The reality is that the music industry has been one of the most affected by technological progress, with the majority of sales now being online.

While people may regret the loss of traditional record shops, the digital revolution has been good for music overall with more independent artists able to sell direct to their fans without the barriers created by record labels and retailers. There is a lot more to music than One Direction and other "big name" bands!

As for the reason why Argos and Next moved out to the Retail park, the reason is simpler: It's where their customers prefer them to be. It isn't the job of the council or government, at any level, to tell companies how to run their business. if they get more customers, and make more money, from locating in one part of town then another then that's entirely up to them.

Finally, I entirely agree with Tony Rowland and Gerry O'Donnell that the future of the town centre lies in a shift away from traditional retailing. The development of a "cafe culture" and more independent, high quality shops are the way forward.

The likes of Next, Argos and M&S are unlikely ever to return to the town centre. But shops such as LIFE Emporium, in Vine Mews, and the Bridge Street Grocers, show that well-run businesses offering good customer service can be a success in the town centre. There's still plenty of potential for others to succeed as well.
Much as it's always a disappointment when a shop closes, I really don't think that the loss of Rapture can be blamed on the bridge saga, or indeed any decisions made by any of the organisations running Evesham. As the Journal points out in its own editorial, independent record shops are an endangered species across the whole of the country. The reality is that the music industry has been one of the most affected by technological progress, with the majority of sales now being online. While people may regret the loss of traditional record shops, the digital revolution has been good for music overall with more independent artists able to sell direct to their fans without the barriers created by record labels and retailers. There is a lot more to music than One Direction and other "big name" bands! As for the reason why Argos and Next moved out to the Retail park, the reason is simpler: It's where their customers prefer them to be. It isn't the job of the council or government, at any level, to tell companies how to run their business. if they get more customers, and make more money, from locating in one part of town then another then that's entirely up to them. Finally, I entirely agree with Tony Rowland and Gerry O'Donnell that the future of the town centre lies in a shift away from traditional retailing. The development of a "cafe culture" and more independent, high quality shops are the way forward. The likes of Next, Argos and M&S are unlikely ever to return to the town centre. But shops such as LIFE Emporium, in Vine Mews, and the Bridge Street Grocers, show that well-run businesses offering good customer service can be a success in the town centre. There's still plenty of potential for others to succeed as well. MarkSG
  • Score: 4

5:08pm Thu 15 May 14

essexnumberone says...

Although it's sad to see another shop go, in all fairness they were flipping expensive!
Although it's sad to see another shop go, in all fairness they were flipping expensive! essexnumberone
  • Score: 8

8:45pm Thu 15 May 14

Small Town says...

It was that Evesham Riot to blame a couple of weeks ago, drove away all the visitors, they presumed the whole town was now a no go area!
It was that Evesham Riot to blame a couple of weeks ago, drove away all the visitors, they presumed the whole town was now a no go area! Small Town
  • Score: -7

11:02pm Thu 15 May 14

Perfman says...

Small Town wrote:
It was that Evesham Riot to blame a couple of weeks ago, drove away all the visitors, they presumed the whole town was now a no go area!
It was the tought of being in close proximity to such idiotic remarks
[quote][p][bold]Small Town[/bold] wrote: It was that Evesham Riot to blame a couple of weeks ago, drove away all the visitors, they presumed the whole town was now a no go area![/p][/quote]It was the tought of being in close proximity to such idiotic remarks Perfman
  • Score: 0

6:54am Sat 17 May 14

adc1960 says...

Sorry MarkSG, i disagree. Yes, independent record shops may be an endangered species, yes, there may be many factors at work here, far too complex for me to be able to comment on. But when you boil it all down to its very basic, more customers = more shops = more trade, less customers = less shops = less trade. Footfall was reduced because of the sorry bridge saga, and i think that was bound to have an effect. Simples! And, you state that its not the job of the council or organisations running Evesham to tell companies what to do. No, absolutely not. But it is the job of all the local authorities to create an environment within which trade can flourish, and i'm sorry, but on that front, all the authorities in Evesham have spectacularly failed in recent years. The road system, parking issues, bad planning decisions, the effects of which continue to be felt to this day. I have said for a long time that yes, trading times are hard, but i firmly believe the decisions made in Evesham in recent years have made a difficult trading climate much harder than in other comparable towns and exacerbated the problem.............
Sorry MarkSG, i disagree. Yes, independent record shops may be an endangered species, yes, there may be many factors at work here, far too complex for me to be able to comment on. But when you boil it all down to its very basic, more customers = more shops = more trade, less customers = less shops = less trade. Footfall was reduced because of the sorry bridge saga, and i think that was bound to have an effect. Simples! And, you state that its not the job of the council or organisations running Evesham to tell companies what to do. No, absolutely not. But it is the job of all the local authorities to create an environment within which trade can flourish, and i'm sorry, but on that front, all the authorities in Evesham have spectacularly failed in recent years. The road system, parking issues, bad planning decisions, the effects of which continue to be felt to this day. I have said for a long time that yes, trading times are hard, but i firmly believe the decisions made in Evesham in recent years have made a difficult trading climate much harder than in other comparable towns and exacerbated the problem............. adc1960
  • Score: -3

6:36pm Tue 20 May 14

DarrenM says...

Records? Wasn't that some kind of Ipod used in olden days?
Records? Wasn't that some kind of Ipod used in olden days? DarrenM
  • Score: 6

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