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‘Use us or lose us’ warning on internet from Saltaire Bookshop owner
A bookshop owner in Saltaire has urged people to support local businesses after taking to Facebook to reveal his “despair” at plummeting sales.
David Ford issued an urgent plea for customers on the social media website after his shop took only £7.50 in a day.
And the 52-year-old’s strategy worked because the day after his plea, Saltaire Bookshop took £300 – which Mr Ford says he usually makes in about two weeks.
Speaking about posting about his lack of profits on Facebook, Mr Ford said: “It was despair. The shop had probably just had its worst week on record.
“I wrote on Facebook having a moan, but also making a point that if people don’t use their local shops they will not survive.” Since the day he made £300, Mr Ford said business has been better.
“It was one of the best Saturdays I’ve ever had,” he said. “It was an absolutely fantastic day – almost unprecedented.
“It hasn’t been heaving this week but it has certainly been better than last week.”
Mr Ford said he usually makes about £14 a day at the store, which stocks about 8,000 mainly second-hand books. On his slow sales day he sold just a French dictionary and a children’s book about ponies, earning him only £7.50.
“I think people think that shopkeepers are wealthy people,” said Mr Ford, who has run the shop at Myrtle Place for more than six years.
“I was seriously thinking about closing down, and not from choice because I love what I do, but there’s only so much I can do.”
Mr Ford, who reckons he earns an annual wage of £10,000 from the shop, said he was also considering taking on a second job, something he did when he first opened the business.
He blamed supermarkets and the internet for the demise of local shops, adding: “There is no magic solution for local shops. The only option is to use them.
“If you want local shops to stay open, use them. If you want a bookshop in town that will supply you with a book occasionally, you have to go and buy one occasionally.
“If everyone in Saltaire spent £5 a year in here then the shop would be fine.”
Mr Ford, who lives above the shop with his wife Vanessa, is also the chairman of the Saltaire Traders’ Association, and a founder of a ‘Totally Locally’ committee.
He said: “Independent shops are part of a community, which will be lost if they are forced to close as people choose to buy online or in supermarkets.”
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