Traders voice concerns ahead of Wrexham shop closure

Reporter:

Geraint Jones

A town centre trader is due to close after a “devastating” decline in footfall proved to be the “final nail in the coffin”.

Jurec Sznerch, 66, who has run Kendrick’s Newsgents in the South Arcade for 10 years,  said the shop would close “in a matter of days”.

He said he was “resigned to retiring” due to the downturn in footfall after the People’s Market was closed to build the £4.5 million arts hub.  

The shop has operated reduced hours since July 30 and Mr Sznerch said he had to let his three part time staff go after they had been with him for a decade. 

“The closing of the market doors had a devastating effect on our business,” he said. 

“The entrance for the loading bay into into the arcade has been fenced off. That had a dramatic effect on us, with the result that I have had to lose all my staff.”

Lifelong Wrexham resident Mr Sznerch, who lives in Maes Eithen, added the closure of TJ Hughes had a “significant effect” on the business, but  “then it stabilised until the market refurbishment”.

“I have been here for 10 years and we have had ups and downs but closing these doors and boarding the entrance (from the loading bay) has been the final nail in the coffin as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Kevin Dipple, who runs Cafe on the Corner, said there had been a “dramatic drop off” in footfall and  the situation was “desperate”.

He added: “I’ve had conversations with the council and I have had some help, but it’s just not enough really – there’s just no footfall here, and it’s happened purely since these doors were closed in January.”

Wrexham Council gave Mr Dipple a rates concession and he said he was “more than grateful” for the help, adding he was looking forward to the arts hub opening in April. 

“But between now and April every month’s getting tougher and tougher,” he said.

“The big promotion with it was that it was going to be good for the town – and that’s all good and well – but if it means that we’re going to have these kind of casualties to get something good at the end of it, I don’t understand it.” 

Cllr Terry Evans, Wrexham Council’s lead member for economic performance and regeneration, said: “I am, of course, very sad to hear that Kendrick’s Newsagents intend to close.

“Senior officers and I have spoken to owners directly to see what help we could offer, but sadly they feel they had to take the decision to close.

“It’s very sad to hear of any business closing in the town centre, and Kendrick’s will be missed.

“We recognise that footfall within the South Arcade is a challenging issue, and we are working with individual traders to assess their trading position so that we can consider implementing further concessions, in addition to the current rental concession which has been in place since April 2017.

“A range of activities has been taking place within the South Arcade, and will continue to take place over the forthcoming months to attract footfall - these events have been widely publicised.

“However, feedback from traders at a recent meeting indicated the impact of these events is only felt on Saturdays – although they are grateful and keen for them to continue.

“We have also worked with individual traders to provide them with publicity, as part of a wider publicity effort for the town centre in general.

“We are committed to providing support to traders within the South Arcade during this time, and encourage people to visit the range of traders on Chester Street and within the arcade.”

Email:

geraint.jones@nwn.co.uk

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