Reader’s Letter: Article was an insult to traders

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A. A. Grundi’s recent diatribe in the 2nd May edition leads me to the inescapable conclusion that the writer must be living in Ulan Bator. Only this could explain the woeful omissions in the article.

He/she/it - delete as applicable - appears not to have even a passing understanding of the retail offer in Worksop, nor seemingly, the gumption to actually do any research.

As such, it will no doubt come as something of a surprise to discover that Worksop does indeed have a quality fashion store and has done so for nearly 85 years. I’m speaking of course of Waddington Menswear on Bridge Place.

Whilst it’s true that the shop does not stock the brands referred to in the article, it does however carry an excellent range of suits, shirts, trousers, jackets, knitwear and accessories, as well a selection of footwear from the likes of Barker and Loake. Moreover, so far as I am aware, it is one of the only places outside London where customers can have a suit made by a Commonwealth Gold Medallist Tailor - my father Trevor Waddington who trained under Bernard Weatherill, the late Speaker of The House of Commons. To claim that the only options for ‘smartish stuff’ are Burtons or Greenwoods, is frankly, insulting!

I was particularly interested to read of Grundi’s claim that ‘no one does more for Worksop than me...’ Really? The main article - badly researched and inaccurate - along with the two sidebar pieces do nothing but portray that town in a negative and unappealing light. Hardly surprising then, that there are the ‘empty and moribund’ shops Grundi so laments.

‘We need some really entrepreneurial vision and spirit’ it goes on, somewhat despairingly. Surely this is already evident in spades? There are scores of independent traders in the town, including Waddington, many of whom I suspect are also advertisers in your paper. It seems odd to say the least to take money from these clients on the one hand, whilst pulling the rug from under their feet with the other.

With the very real competition from local and regional businesses, and particularly online, independent stores in small market towns such as ours need all the help they can get. Especially from a local paper that purports to be Your Paper, Your Voice.

Worksop relies for its long-term survival on local custom to its stores. Suggesting that shoppers can only find certain products in Sheffield, Meadowhall and Nottingham etc, can only result in a steady erosion of hometown custom which will ultimately succeed in bringing about the very decline the article quite rightly alludes to. This is not something that affects just our sector of retail. If customers are persuaded to go elsewhere for one thing, they may do all their shopping there. It is, in essence a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Far better to use businesses such as ours as a template for others to follow, surely, thereby encouraging inward investment rather than the reverse.

Jane Parkinson

(Nee Waddington)