No heart for the arts

photo (3)The loss of another independent shop in Caversham may suggest a problem with its business model.

Sadly The Wendy House on Prospect Street appears to be on last just months after the Blue Duck Art Gallery closed its doors after ten years.

The concept of local arts being sold in a retail shop gave us original and constantly changing fare, a rarity in the modern world of clone towns.

But if these two shops can no longer sell the work of local artists, we are losing more than just independent retailers. We are losing businesses that are the essence of localism and you could argue, sustainability.

Perhaps a clue as to why these shops can not longer survive, lies in the distance in this picture. If you can spot the green ‘to let’ sign to the right, you are seeing a unit which has been empty for years, yet carries an annual rent of £24,000.

If that’s what businesses must be forced to pay then local innovation is not going to happen.

We can look forward to little more than nail bars, tattoo parlours, barbers and estate agents in future. Let’s hope the authorities spot this before every independent retailer is gone.

About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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