Our local pen shop is closing down…

What a shame – my local pen shop, Platts of Preston, will cease trading end of next week. I bought a few nice pens there and my wife’s favourite pen for years, the Lamy Pico, was bought there. I overheard the shopkeeper telling another customer that the new lease for the shop would cost £800 per week – which might be acceptable for some locations, but to me sounds ridiculously expensive for a shop that is in the location this shop is in a city the size of Preston.

They will continue to trade at plattspens.co.uk and I wish them the best of luck for their future.

9 thoughts on “Our local pen shop is closing down…”

  1. That is a shame! The store looks so idyllic and friendly from your picture. Is there another pen/ stationery store nearby? It is sad to say that the pen shops around my area are not approachable. Sales representatives were not knowledgeable, and they just wanted to make a sale.

  2. Have you let them know that you posted about it? It may be heartening for them to read the condolences, if they haven’t already.

    Like book stores, pen shops have certainly been affected by e-commerce, but has any one else noticed a few book stores popping up every once in a while? I don’t mean to suggest there is a “comeback” happening, but I wonder if a small crack in the Amazon armor (and the folding of Borders) might be helping to keep a few mom-and-pop stores afloat. I have seen a few stores in a few different states, and it’s encouraging (if not too naïve to think so).

  3. Rent, it seems, is the scourge of small business and I think since the rise of the Shopping mall dynasties and online retailing, small independent shops on the high street have suffered, with rent increases without turnover increasing (and more likely decreasing) …..certainly this seems to be the case in Australia. You would think rents should come down rather than increase. Sorry to hear the bad news.

  4. Shangching, there are other shops in Preston that sell stationery, but most of them are part of a chain and sell exactly what everyone else is selling.. There were some smaller shops, like copy shops, corner shops and post offices, selling nice stationery …but since the average consumer seems to want to spend as little as possible for stationery these shops replace the nice stuff, when it is sold out, with no name products. 8^(
    I fear the problem with people not knowing what they do and just trying to sell you something is getting more and more common, in most countries and in most types of shops, but that’s what you get when you only pay minimum wage or when people don’t have pride in what they do…

    Koralatov, it is really sad, but I have to admit that I didn’t go there so often myself, only once every few months. The problem is that parking in the city centre is just so expensive… Did you find another nice shop or is it Paperchase for you now?

    Palimpsest, I hope their online shop will be successful, but it looks pretty standard to me – a shop were you buy if you know what you want, not like an online shop where you can discover new things, like Jet Pens or Cult Pens.. I hope that will improve once they switch to online only.

    Sean, they don’t know I have a blog. I tried to start a conversation about the situation in the UK regarding online shops, but the shop was about to close down and the shop keeper had to leave to catch a bus. They might find the nice comments left here sooner or later if they search for their shop on the Internet or if they check who links to their online shop. I didn’t notice new book stores opening in the UK, at least not in Preston, but I did notice this in/near my home town in Germany. Would be nice if these shops have enough business to survive..

    Kevin, I don’t know about Australia, but in the UK big shopping malls have free car parks and are often easily accessible, which is certainly an advantage when compared to town and city centre. On the other hand, shopping malls usually only have chains in them, no independent shops where you might find something you cannot find anywhere else.. about the homely look, the shops looks slightly different in reality: the colours of the photo are rather odd, but it was already getting dark – so I wasn’t able to get better colours…

  5. Matthias, you are right on the major malls, nearly all chains and boutiques. This has nothing to do with the content of this post, but hey, what the heck.. I’ve always had a soft spot for Preston, because when I was a boy in South Yorkshire in the 60’s, our coach always travelled over the pennines and through Preston (Ribble buses everywhere) on the way to Blackpool for our summer holidays. OK, OK…enough.

  6. For shame! But a sign of the further polarisation of the stationery market in the UK. Whilst Smythson’s of Bond Street increase profits, and John Lewis report a more than doubling of sales, the supermarket chains have captured the cheap end. But where does that leave the traditional small town stationers? They face a pincer movement of rising overheads and moronic local authorities who overcharge for town centre parking (it’s the same where I live, too) whilst selling products which are seen increasingly as commoditised, and cheaper down at Tesco.

    I wish Platt’s well in their new online incarnation. If they can show a bit of individuality they could thrive. I hope they can.

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