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Aylesbury's independent shops are 'struggling' to pay rent & rates

Owners of Rocky & Kook say more needs to be done to help businesses like theirs.

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 6:09am 26th April 2018. 3-minute read.

Aylesbury's independent shops are 'struggling' to pay rent & rates

After one short-lived independent shop shut down in Aylesbury, more needs to be done to help them.

That's from Yo-Yo Gurt's neighbours, Rocky and Kook, after the frozen yoghurt shop closed after two years.

Ruby Lewis is one of the owners at Rocky & Kook:

"Unfortunately there's just not enough of us [independent shops], to have people coming here, because the parking is expensive, people aren't necessarily going to park if it's just one place they want to come to.

"But I think independent businesses are the way forward, it's just a struggle at the minute."

Empty Aylesbury shop - Kingsbury
This shop on Kingsbury is going for £1,667 a month

Ruby told us they're struggling top pay the rent, hundreds of pounds in business rates and promote the shop:

"We're constantly battling earning enough money to cover rent, rates and on top of that you need the money for bills and on top of that, you need stock.

"So it's a catch-22 situation, because you want to pay the bills on time, but you also want to keep the shop looking fresh."

Empty Aylesbury shop - High Street
This site could be yours for nearly £4k a month

At the moment, rents on a selection of Aylesbury town centre's most prominent empty stores, not including Hale Leys or Friars Square, totals over £200,000 a year.

The Connexions building on Temple Street, for example, is £3,167 a month.

That doesn't include business rates, which can be hundreds of pounds a month as well.

Empty Aylesbury shop - Temple Street
This site has sat empty for several years

Ruby says something needs to change:

"This could be a really cute, individual little town and it's just a shame that no-one is listening to us.

"We've all tried and whether it can change I'm not sure.

"So any kind of posters, street events, it's the advertising that there's no budget left for so it would be great if we could have some help there."

AVDC told us government sets business rates, so they wouldn't comment on this issue.

We've asked them if they feel more could be done to promote shops like Yo-Yo Gurt and Rocky & Kook.

Town Centre Manager, Diana Fawcett, said: 

“The Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership supports town centre businesses by offering networking opportunities, free advertising on the town centre website and providing one-to-one support to those businesses that request it.

"We also encourage businesses to get involved in events in the town, as this has proven to be a great way for them to raise their profile.

"We care passionately about small businesses and are disappointed to see Yoyo-Gurt leave the town.” 

Empty Aylesbury shop - to let sign

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