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End of an era … Shoppers gather around the closed doors at the Rangiora Paper Plus and Toyworld store to read a notice saying that the business has ceased trading. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

Rangiora Paper Plus and Toyworld has closed with nine staff, all locals, being made redundant.

Its owners report tough trading conditions on High Street, suggesting other businesses are also struggling.

The shop was put into liquidation last week by the Paper Plus Group, a decision that has been heartbreaking for the store’s owners, Andrew and Stacey Beath, of Christchurch.

“It has been a struggle for the last year,” Andrew says. “I have tried to keep people employed and gone without a wage for the last three years,”

However, in the end, sales were just not enough to keep the business going, he said.

The shop closed on Wednesday last week, when all the stock was removed by workmen and loaded into large trucks parked outside the store in High Street.

Andrew and Stacey have placed a notice on the shop’s front door to explain the closure: “It is with a heavy heart and deep regret that we must inform you that the decision has been made for Rangiora Paper Plus and Toyworld to cease trading,” they said.

“We would like to thank all our loyal customers and friends in the Rangiora community, but most importantly our staff who have shown both loyalty and professionalism under difficult circumstances.”

Many people visiting the Paper Plus and Toyworld store last week said they were shocked and saddened to find it had been closed.

“I am very, very sad. You get to know the staff. It has been part of our
community for quite a long while,” regular customer Diane Sharp, of
Rangiora, said.

“So many good things are happening in our community. I just never thought
this would happen.”

Andrew said that he had really enjoyed working in Rangiora and many
customers had become friends.

“It was a very family-oriented kind of workplace.”

However, retailing was a tough business in which to survive.

Other retailers in Rangiora’s High St had told him they were not making any
money, either.

“They are all struggling,” Andrew said. This was because of the economy,
high rents, the minimum wage increase and online shopping.

“We couldn’t compete against onlinesales.” said Andrew, who is an
accountant.

He believes that landlords need to look at lowering the rents for their
shops in tough trading conditions. He says customers need to realise that,
unless they shop locally and support their community retailers, many of
those businesses will not survive.

Paper Plus Group chief executive Sam Shosanya was unable to be
reached for comment.