December 8 2013 Latest news:
Malcolm Tims has run Better Leisure on King Street in Great Yarmouth, for more than 20 years but is having to bite the bullet and close down as he says customer footfall has fallen so much, the store is no longer viable. Picture: James Bass
Friday, October 12, 2012
CUT price online stores and a lack of customers have been blamed for the closure of a long standing Great Yarmouth music shop.
Malcolm Tims, director of Better Leisure in King Street, said dwindling footfall and competition from budget internet sits such as Amazon and Play had forced him to make the decision to shut.
Mr Tims, who took the store on in 1991 - changing its name from Prism Leisure in 2004 - said he was “devastated” at having to close, but the shop had become financially unviable.
“The shop isn’t paying its way. I can only just afford to pay the record companies and likewise the staff,” he added.
“The internet has killed the High Street and that’s the bottom line. You only have to look at the number of empty shops in Yarmouth, and there’ll be many, many more to go.”
Staff at the store have also felt the effects of falling footfall as the lack of business has left Mr Tims having to make the “sad” decision to cut workers and hours.
He said: “From February I put everyone down to one day a week. There was four of them and now I have just got two and they work three days a week each and I work at home. It’s totally sad.
“I would have kept the shop on but I haven’t made a profit in about seven years.
“If it just ticked over and I could make a living out of it, of course I’d stay.”
The closure means Yarmouth will be losing one of the only remaining stores in the town to sell records, and although there has been a resurgence for vinyl among music fans, the flurry has not been enough to keep Better Leisure afloat.
Mr Tims said: “Some days we would sell more vinyl than CDs but not enough people are buying it for me to keep the shop going.
“On Record Store Day (an annual event aimed at promoting independent music shops) where we had limited edition vinyls, we had people queuing up at 4am and the first chap spent £750.
“We were busier that day than on Christmas Eve but one day’s not going to keep me open.”
A final closing date has not been set but Mr Tims estimated the shop would shut for the last time towards the end of November, once all the remaining stock has been sold.
Better Leisure will still exist as an internet store - which Mr Tims established to keep up with the shift in online buying - and he will continue to take orders from customers from home.
To order from Mr Tims, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis has hailed the town’s growing significance as an energy hub after the arrival of a new offshore business bringing the promise of 100 jobs over the next three years.