Popular Cambridge toy shop to close
Rent increase forces Cambridge independent toy shop to shut
The owner of the last independent toy shop in Cambridge has expressed her sadness at having to close after 12 years.
Vivienne Watson of the Cambridge Toy Shop in Sussex Street, says her decision to shut up shop was taken after a hefty rent increase was announced by the landlord, Sidney Sussex College.
Ms Watson said:"I am pretty sure I would have renewed my lease for another five years at least but unfortunately the college wanted a higher rent.
"It is a lot of money but all independents are struggling in Cambridge because the parking charges are driving people away from the city, so that makes us very dependent on the tourist trade.
"Local people don't want to come in and park because it is so extortionate.
"If they park in the Grand Arcade they will just stay there. So we miss out. But with rent and rates going up we just can't stay competitive against the internet.
"People will just start going to out-of-town shopping malls because there is no point in coming to a city centre and paying those parking charges. It is a shame.
"I have been here 12 years and the response has been so lovely.
"As soon as I put the message out, I have had so many emails and Facebook and Twitter messages but I have not thought about changing my mind.
"You cannot let your heart rule your head in business. I would love to stay but it is just not viable. I cannot stay competitive ?with high rent."
The shop will be holding a massive closing down sale after Boxing Day.
A clothing shop for men will replace the toy shop but Ms Watson is already investigating various options, some of which would see her staying within the toy industry.
The college responsible for the rent increase demand did not wish to comment.