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Is it the end of the story for charitable Hampton bookshop?
It might be the final chapter for a Hampton book shop amid fears the store will have to close due to falling trade.
The Book Shop, in Ashley Road, sits adjacent to Hampton station and has served the town for more than 50 years.
But falling trade has forced the store into decline, leaving owner Joy McKie fearing the charity book store could disappear in less than a year.
She said: “We have been going over 50 years now but it is so hard to compete with Kindles and Sainsbury’s selling books for £1.
“If they sell something for £1, we might sell it for £1.50 because the money is going to charity.
“It is a tragedy really.”
Mrs McKie has a staff of 20 volunteers at the shop, which is run out of a building rented from South West Trains.
In 2006, rent was tripled by the rail franchise, which left the shop facing closure but after weeks of negotiations, managed to agree a rate.
But now Mrs McKie, 84, of Hampton High Street, faces a new challenge due to declining passing trade meaning The Book Shop’s story may be coming to an end regardless.
She said: “Book shops are disappearing just like pubs every week at the moment.
“We need people to support the shop because if it goes, people will say it’s such a shame but we need support now.
“All the volunteers give their time for nothing and when someone stops, it can be hard to replace them.”
The shop pays reduced business rates to Richmond Council because it donates profits to charity but if it cannot afford to do that in future, that benefit will be taken away.
Funds are donated to charities such as Princess Alice Hospice, Teddington Memorial Hospital, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and Guidedogs among others.
For many years the shop was leased to WH Smith by South West Trains and daily papers were served through a hatch.
Hampton Councillor Gareth Roberts described the shop as “lovely” and said it would be incredibly sad to see it close.
He added: “I often pick up books for my children here.
“I’m grateful to the Richmond & Twickenham Times for raising the potential loss, for the people of Hampton this is definitely one of those ‘use it or lose it’ issues.”
The Book Shop is open 10.30am-5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 10.30am-3pm on Wednesday and Saturday.
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