The owner of Chester’s oldest toyshop has announced its closure after more than half a century of trading in the city centre.
Beverley Lucas, who owns Toycraft on Watergate Street, wrote on Facebook that it was with ‘great sadness’ that the store, which holds a special place in the heart of many Cestrians, was having to close its doors.
No specific reason has been given so far, but less than a year ago Beverley was forced to close half of the shop premises due to a ‘perfect storm’ of issues including a noticeable decline in custom and crippling business rates of £27,000 a year.
She told The Chronicle last August: “It’s probably been coming for the past three years, there has been a noticeable drop off in custom and this Christmas was very poor. In fact, we noticed a huge drop-off at Christmas and in our business. If you don’t have a good Christmas you have to make some changes. By March it still wasn’t picking up and that’s when I knew we really had to do something.”
At the time, Beverley said her only option to secure a future for the business was to reduce the shop from the two neighbouring units it previously occupied to just one.
However, it seems it was not enough, and Beverley wrote on the shop’s Facebook page: “It’s with great sadness we are having to close our lovely toyshop. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years.”
She added: “It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made but just had to be done.”