Closing Down Sale Commences at Nutshell Bookshop, Stowmarket

Another chapter closes in the 200 year long story of the UK’s Christian bookshops as Ray & Vera Meacham of the Nutshell Bookshop, Stowmarket, prepare to retire with a two-week long closing down sale commencing today. In a letter sent out to customers last week, they wrote:

Dear Customer,

Welcome to this shop news April 2010 edition.

We would like to thank you for your custom over the past ten years.  It is now time for me to retire and close the shop.

With this in mind we are having a retirement sale – all stock is to be reduced to 1/2 price (unless otherwise marked).  The sale will commence on 27th April for two weeks.

If all goes to plan the shop will close on 8th May 2010.
It goes without saying ‘first come first served’.

Once again thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you next week.

Regards,
Ray & Vera Meacham

After the Nutshell closes, the nearest alternative Christian bookshops for Stowmarket residents will be in Ipswich (CLC) or Bury St Edmunds (St Andrew’s or St Edmundsbury Cathedral Shop).

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3 thoughts on “Closing Down Sale Commences at Nutshell Bookshop, Stowmarket

  1. I wish them all the best in their retirement, my own parents retired only the other week and it was well deserved and I know the same will be true here indeed.

    What I think I find saddest in all of this is the fact that no one is willing to pick up the mantle in these places where shops are being closed, wasn’t it Keysham the other week closing due to no buyer to take over when the current owner retired?

    Don’t get me wrong it is hard work and becoming in many ways harder but isn’t this the point at which we are supposed to rise more to the challenge rather than just folding up the picnic blanket and going home with our crumbs?

    There are ways we can adapt these businesses and change them so they work as commercial enterprises providing for their owners livelihoods as well as being ministries and community bases for our home towns.

    I’m not talking Oasis Coffee Houses here – though that works for some and is indeed a good possibility for larger venues (though I still put forward my concern about this endangering other local small indies in the smaller towns – the more diverse a communities businesses and shops the better the community in terms of livelihood and growth – but this is another ethics, fair trade and justice type issue in some ways).

    However this won’t work for some of us smaller places necessarily where the space may be seriously constrained, or the landlord or planning prohibit it, or there is a perfectly good coffee shop already there!
    With little room to do such a thing then it’s more likely time to look at the other alternatives that can make us viable – that’s broadening the scope of the shop to appeal across a wider board – general and religious books (Heck even Eden have done this in the past 12 months so I must have been on to a winning formula and talking some sort of sense!), adding in things like jigsaws, crafts or whatever happens to be missing from your town that fits, or at least doesn’t conflict, with the christian ethos but appeals across a wider range.

    Indeed some Christian shops (more and more from what I can make out reading various things) are moving into the previous realm of ‘charity’ shops and now selling Lovingly used clothed etc, well lets face it if it makes sense for charity shops like Oxfam to open bookshops and other indie type venues then it makes sense to learn from them and look at what they do that we can replicate to work for us :0)

    The point here is that there are still many ways we can make these businesses work – but we can only do this if people, or groups of people, step up to the mark!
    The scary and unrelentingly sad thing for me is that no one seems to be willing to do this and that ultimately makes me question not whats happening in the booktrade but whats happening in our Christian Communities!

  2. what sad news.
    i was then looking for a bible for a friend on my website and you Ray were my 1st port of call
    i moved away from the area 8 years ago but came back 2 years ago but sadly now live near lowestoft, but still attend ‘The Forge’ formerly “MCF”
    you have always made me feel welcome in your shop and always remembered my name
    i remember saying to my wife one time we came back to the area to visit i must pop in and say hi to Ray, she replied i’m sure he won’t remember you and was completely surprised when you did and even remembered my name.
    it will be a sad lose to Stowmarket and the many friends and customers you have made over the years.
    i for one will deeply miss the shop and am only more saddened that i couldn’t get in there more to support you.
    its a pity that i don’t have the finances to be able to take the shop over from you because i would dearly love to.
    i wish you all the best for your retirement and hopefully see you around.
    may God bless you for all the work you have done for Him and may He keep you safe and happy in your retirement.
    Steve

    • Steve, A belated thank you for your kind comments. The shop closed in May 2010 due retirement and a spell in hospital. The internet has a big effect on the sale of books these days and the upset in the wholesale Christian book trade at the end on 2009 all played a part in the decision to close. If someone had offered to man the shop for about 8 weeks maybe we wouldn’t have closed. If spite of a lot of prayer this did not happen so the conclusion was that work of the shop was finished. I do miss the people who supported us during the 10 years we were there. I am pleased to say I have made a good recovery and did not have any further treatment PTL! Ray Meacham

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