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Rimmingtons campaign a tonic for pharmacy
Efforts to save a historic Bradford city centre pharmacy look like paying off, its owners are hoping.
Pharmacists Sajid Hussain and Qaisar Sheikh, who bought the Rimmingtons shop in Bridge Street two years ago from national chain Lloyds, need to have 1,000 NHS prescription customers this year to ensure the pharmacy business continues.
The pair, who both trained at Bradford University, have been running a ‘save Rimmingtons’ campaign, including advertising in the Telegraph & Argus and promotions at Bradford City’s stadium, which has brought positive results.
After pledging to restore Rimmingtons, which originally opened in 1830, to its former glory, Sajid and Qaisar have suffered from a lack of footfall in the city centre. This led them to provide a prescription collection and delivery service in several suburbs, which has seen a growing number of people signing up.
They also hope that an exhibition in May, charting Rimmington’s history, will attract more business. It will feature memorabilia owned by David Hirst, whose family bought the shop from the Rimmingtons and ran it for many years.
The battle to survive has also involved cutting costs and the duo are negotiating with Bradford Council about reducing the £30,000 annual rates bill and also persuading their landlord, the Lloyds Pharmacy chain, to reduce the shop rent .
The partners employ one full-time assistant and are also being helped by volunteers from family and friends, both in the shop and with prescription deliveries.
Qaisar said: “We are committed to keep this historic business going. It’s a jewel in Bradford’s crown but because of the lack of footfall in the city centre we need to attract more business for the pharmacy to meet NHS requirements.
“It has been a struggle, but we are optimistic that the positive response we’ve had so far to our campaign will enable us to carry on.
“The fact is that with the state of the centre at the moment, this shop would not survive as a retail outlet without the pharmacy operation.
“We’re in discussions with the Council and the landlord about lowering their bills and we’ve also cut running costs to a minimum where possible.
“People do appreciate the personal service that we offer and hopefully this will help us reach our NHS target and preserve Rimmingtons for Bradford.”
The Rimmingtons shop was opened by Felix Rimmington, one of a select band of chemists who helped to try and solve the Jack the Ripper murders by working on post mortem examinations of the victims. He also found the cause of a notorious accidental poisoning scandal in 1858 which killed 20 children, customers of ‘Humbug Billy’ who made and sold peppermints in Bradford.