Farewell to The Well, Fareham: blame for demise placed on online competition and “the growth of cafe culture”

"We are sorry to announce that the Well ceased trading as a Christian bookshop and café on 3 September 2010..."

The Well, Fareham: Ceased trading 3rd September 2010

THE WELL, FAREHAM, has become our latest casualty in the struggle to survive as shopping trends change.  According to a report at portsmouth.co.uk, the shop’s demise is attributable to both online competition and “the growth of cafe culture”, the very culture that Living Oasis and other recent initiatives such as Cornerstone, St Neots, are focusing on.

Sadly and particularly poignantly, the day The Well ceased trading was 3rd September 2010, the date of our latest Day of Prayer for the UK Christian book and retail trade, yet somehow the rest of us in the trade seem to have been unaware of this situation unfolding: an unfortunate lesson for all of us on the importance of networking, of sharing our difficulties and our joys and of keeping in touch with one another.

From the shop news page:

The Well closed its doors to customers for the last time on 3 September after the chair of trustees had led a short celebration of thanks for all those who have worked to make the Well such an important part in the lives of so many people over the past 10½  years. The Reverend Peter Hall (vice-Chairman of Christians Together in Fareham) then signalled the final closure with prayers of thanksgiving and a blessing for the future of the Well Charity.

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4 thoughts on “Farewell to The Well, Fareham: blame for demise placed on online competition and “the growth of cafe culture”

  1. Here in Shrewsbury the publicity for the Illuminate situation was widespread. the directors of the company called a meeting giving local churches up to three months to find a solution – plenty of notice and refreshingly honest for a commercial organization. Then, a series of public meetings were held, a professional looking postcard/flyer was produced and time was taken in most churches to promote the proposed solution. It was a mammoth effort (and it still isn’t over – more money is really still needed) but does provide a model.

    However – the vision for Illuminate isn’t just a bookshop, but a community hub. It also has a cafe in it and I think that people would not have got so fired up if it was just a bookshop – that isn’t enough to capture the imagination of a large number of church-goers.

    Rather than being the problem, I think the so-called ‘cafe-culture’ is the solution to saving bookshops.

      • On reading the aricle on the portsmouth.co.uk site, it looks like what they mean is that whereas they were once the only cafe in their area, the ‘cafe culture’ has led to a number of other local cafes springing up and thus drawing customers away.

  2. Pingback: When prayer is not enough: we need active co-operation « The Christian Bookshops Blog

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