Not always a sign of our times

THE sight of a ‘Store Closing – Everything Must Go’ sign attached to the fence of Cornwall Farmers at Water-ma-Trout Industrial Estate has caused shock and sadness for many local people.

This news is a real blow to our community and my first thoughts go out to employees of the business, it must be a worrying time for them and their families.

Although critics may argue the closure is a clear indicator of retail outlets reaching the end of their lifespan, I would suggest that senior management of the business may have simply lost touch with their customers and deviated too far from the core products that created their earlier success.

Although I try to support local businesses wherever possible, I have to admit I often found the store increasingly overpriced compared to what was available from similar outlets in the area.

The retail sector has had a dismal start to 2018, with the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplin, and firms undergoing painful restructurings such as New Look, Mothercare, Carpet Right, Moss Bros and Claire’s Accessories.

Although times and habits have undoubtedly changed with the internet accounting for a far greater portion of sales than ever before, there is still a place for a shop-front presence. Yet is becoming clear that those who are slow to adapt to an ever-changing market will fall by the wayside.

Savvy customers will always use well-stocked and competitively priced stores offering a quality customer experience. Personally, I am happy to spend a little more on a local product or service rather than from a national chain to help support the community. I also prefer to receive expert product and service advice from a real person rather than dealing with the international call centers often used by large businesses that trade online.

Although plenty of people of Helston will undoubtedly miss Cornwall Farmers, I could list countless alternative and lower-priced options for everything the company stocked, with most located within a half-mile radius of the store.

The thought of an empty building at one of the key approaches to Helston will not give a good impression of our town and main trading estate.

Hopefully, another firm will soon take over to avoid us having to watch the building slowly decay – an option I doubt few will relish.

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