9:00am Saturday 24th August 2013
By Adam Knight
HEREFORD’S Map Centre will close its doors for the final time at the end of the month after serving the county’s geographers and walkers for 30 years.
Owner Jonathan Davey said he will now start a “long goodbye” as the economic conditions have made it untenable to take up a new lease.
“You don’t make decision like this lightly,” said Jonathan.
“Customers I’ve told have been disappointed but they’ve understood that.”
He claims Herefordshire Council has not done enough to support existing businesses in the city’s historic centre.
“People will go to the Old Market and they will spend money,” he added.
“But it will be a big faceless shopping mall and that money will go straight out of the county.”
Located in the shadow of the cathedral – still home to one of world’s oldest, and most famous, maps – the shop’s closure is being seen as a sad departure by neighbouring businesses.
Jill Generalovich, who owns Church Street shop Fodder, said: “Jonathan has been a great support – this will be a big loss for the street.”
The future for Jonathan lies online. He set up a website for the store in 1995 and as revenue from themapcentre.com has increased, it will now take over as the sole point of sale.
A growing part of the business is creating large bespoke maps for companies and he counts Aldi and Avon and Somerset police among his most recent clients.
The independent businesses from Church Street have been among the city’s most vocal in opposition to the Old Market. However, it would be unlikely that the development would be in direct competition with bespoke shops such as the Map Centre.
The problem, said Jonathan, is that along with rising business rates, the council offers little support to independent businesses.
“There is no communication with, never mind support for, independent businesses,” he added.
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