The community-minded woman who saved the Melton Bookshop from closing three years ago has announced the sad news that the Leicester Street business is to close.
Announcing the news on Facebook, owner Catherine Baker said the ‘financial pressures of running a business and the low footfall on Leicester Street’ were the reasons for her decision to close the shop at the end of August.
Catherine stepped in to save the shop in 2013 when previous owner Julian Duxbury retired. The former St Mary’s Primary, John Ferneley High and King Edward VII Upper School pupil was 15 when she gained work experience behind the counter at the bookshop and traced her love of bookshops back to then.
Catherine ended up working at the bookshop for four years, eventually on a part-time basis at weekends and during the busy Christmas period, and after gaining a publishing degree at Oxford Brookes University she decided to take the plunge and take over the shop. At the time she described taking the shop over as ‘an absolute dream come true.’
As well as running the bookshop Catherine has also been actively involved within the local community and supported local initiatives, making many friends along the way.
Breaking the news of her decision to close the bookshop to customers on Facebook, Catherine said: “We have made the decision not to carry on the lease for the premises when it runs out on September 25. We have also decided to close the business itself.
“As you can imagine this is a hard choice for us to make but the financial pressures of running a business and the low footfall on Leicester Street mean that we don’t feel we can carry on as it currently stands.
“We want to thank everyone who has been a loyal customer of the shop and supported us throughout the last three years and indeed since 1975!
“We plan to continue trading until the end of August and more details will be released as time progresses.”
Reacting to the news many people have been expressing their sadness on Facebook as well as paying tribute to Catherine.
Sarah Pritchard said: “So sad. Our kids love coming into the bookshop, even if they do tend to cause carnage when we come! and if we’re ever looking for an unusual book we can always rely on you to get it, if it’s still in print. You will certainly be missed.”
Rebecca KoKo Cat Price said: “I am sorry to read this. You have been a very active part of Melton life and your business will be missed. I agree that footfall in your part of Melton is low. I hope you will go on to have success in your next venture.”
David Grimes said: “Very sad that another ‘proper’ shop is closing, one that always looks so amazing from outside and really adds something different to Melton’s town centre. I really hope it doesn’t become yet another coffee shop, charity shop or travel agent. It’s shops like this that give Melton a unique identity, such a shame.”