'Charity shops are killing our trade'

Moving on: Kevin Barker, who will be closing his shops in Kidderminster.

Moving on: Kevin Barker, who will be closing his shops in Kidderminster. Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated

A BUSINESSMAN says he has been forced out of Kidderminster’s “dead” town centre which he claims has become so overrun with charity shops it has killed his trade.

Kevin Barker, who owns Simply Charming and Simply Luxury, in Blackwell Street, said he had been left with no choice but to close his stores as they were no longer making enough money.

He said that side of town was now surrounded by charity shops, adding he believed they should all be moved to the former Woolworths store to free up empty units for small independent businesses.

Mr Barker will be shutting up shop on Thursday, October 31 and moving his stores, which sell organic soaps and holistic supplies, to Stourbridge, where he feels he will get more business.

“Kidderminster’s dead,” he said. “I’m at the stage where I’m just about holding my head above water – costs are being covered and that’s about it. I need to be able to survive.”

Mr Barker, who opened his shops in Kidderminster three years ago, said trade plummeted when Boots moved from the Swan Centre to Weavers Wharf last year.

“The clientele that used to use Boots stopped coming in,”

he explained. “The footfall has decreased enormously in Blackwell Street.

“There’s nothing to attract people up here. The rest of the shops are all charity shops.”

He said the “final nail in the coffin” was when he found out clothing store In Touch, opposite his shops, would be closing in December.

“I realised then another charity shop would go in there,” Mr Barker added.

“That would be five charity shops in a row. Charity shops have their uses but it attracts a certain type of customer and they’re not the sort of customer that would use my shop.

“ I remember in the 70s and 80s Kidderminster used to be a thriving little town but the decision was made to move everything to [Weavers Wharf and Crossley Retail Park] – that’s when Kidderminster died.”

Mr Barker said 60 per cent of his customers came from out of town but there was nothing to attract them to Kidderminster anymore.

He went on: “It was a very difficult decision to make. I feel very sad about it. I’ve got a loyal customer base and it’s going to be so sad to disappear.

I thank everyone for their loyal and continued support.”

He said he would be offering a delivery service for his customers.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:54pm Mon 21 Oct 13

walkerno5 says...

Stourbridge is hardly free of charity shops though is it?
Stourbridge is hardly free of charity shops though is it? walkerno5
  • Score: 7

5:10pm Mon 21 Oct 13

the batshake says...

'Charity shops attract a certain type of customer and they're not the sort of customer that would use my shop', quite a broad statement. Maybe people who use charity shops have more sense than to buy the sort of stuff sold there, cosmic crystals, plastic dragons and magic beans. I for one find it quite insulting to be labeled any 'sort' of person, especialy by someone who believes that holding a shiney rock for a few minutes will improve just about any element of their life, if that were the case surely there is a magic rock that can influence people to enter the shop to buy other magic rocks.
'Charity shops attract a certain type of customer and they're not the sort of customer that would use my shop', quite a broad statement. Maybe people who use charity shops have more sense than to buy the sort of stuff sold there, cosmic crystals, plastic dragons and magic beans. I for one find it quite insulting to be labeled any 'sort' of person, especialy by someone who believes that holding a shiney rock for a few minutes will improve just about any element of their life, if that were the case surely there is a magic rock that can influence people to enter the shop to buy other magic rocks. the batshake
  • Score: 8

6:41pm Mon 21 Oct 13

mission1 says...

first its the preachers now its the charity shops omg ant ya got a life, more free advertising thats all this is, try selling something worth buying or what people want not crap
first its the preachers now its the charity shops omg ant ya got a life, more free advertising thats all this is, try selling something worth buying or what people want not crap mission1
  • Score: 5

4:53pm Wed 23 Oct 13

strawberryscented says...

as a spiritualist i am highly offended by batshakes comments, simply charming was one of the very few shops that kidderminster had with anything vaguely interesting. There are too many charity shops in kidderminster, it's a cheap trick to fill up units that they can't otherwise fill, all because they have basically killed Kidderminster.
as a spiritualist i am highly offended by batshakes comments, simply charming was one of the very few shops that kidderminster had with anything vaguely interesting. There are too many charity shops in kidderminster, it's a cheap trick to fill up units that they can't otherwise fill, all because they have basically killed Kidderminster. strawberryscented
  • Score: -4

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree