Cook's Kitsch-in shop in Bath Road closing down as recession bites
TOUGH trading conditions for shopkeepers have claimed another victim in Cheltenham.
Richard Halson and his wife Melodie Robson have decided to close their cookware shop Cook's Kitsch-in in Bath Road after eight years. Today is its last day.
As he prepared for the closure, Richard said: "This year, there have been loads of factors. The weather's played a big part and there's been the economic climate.
"The Olympics got everyone feeling better but they certainly didn't spend any more money."
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The 42-year-old said increased competition had not helped his cause and he cited the opening of chain store Lakeland in Cheltenham town centre in 2010 as an example.
Reflecting on how things had become more and more difficult for him at the shop, Richard said: "We've been here for eight years and it's been noticeably harder in the last two years."
Even though he said he had barely allowed himself any time off, he said he wondered if he had tried hard enough and whether he could have done more to make the business more profitable.
He said: "I feel a bit like, what if I had done things differently?"
But despite being sad at his decision to close the shop, he said he remained philosophical and now hoped to do something different in his life
He said: "It's more like the end of a chapter. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do.
"I would kind of like to do something different, maybe working for somebody else. It would be nice not to be in retail as I've not had a weekend off in 10 years, apart from when I've booked some holidays and got someone to cover for me."
The decision to close means three jobs will also be lost, although Richard said his staff had been informed of his decision some time ago and had already found other employment.
He thanked his customers for their support and added: "Everyone has been great."
Lizzie Smith, chairman of the Bath Road Traders' Association, said she was sorry to see Richard's shop close.
"It's very sad. It's a beautiful shop, individually owned and something very different," she said.
"He's a really nice guy who has been very supportive of the Bath Road and the things I've been trying to do to help it."
She said some people had mistakenly thought her shop, called Cook, was closing but that was not the case.
She urged Bath Road area residents to use its shops in order to prevent other traders having to close down in the future.