Wage increase ends toy shop story in town

Luan has closed her award-winning toy shop
Luan has closed her award-winning toy shop

The increase in the minimum wage has been blamed for the closure of a prize-winning toy shop in Ampthill.

Fairies ’n’ Frogs opened six years ago and was one of the town’s top stores.

Now, owner Luan Hill, 45, is moving to the Isle of Wight where her elderly mother lives, and says the new minimum wage – up from £6.70 to £7.20 per hour – makes it uneconomical to employ staff to run shop for her.

In an open letter to customers, Luan said: “Thank you for all your help, support and friendly banter and smiles over the past six years.

“We have had an amazing six years, growth has been fantastic. But due to the impending increase of minimum wage it was not feasible to keep the shop managed full time.”

Mum-of-two Luan plans to keep the business going online and has not ruled out opening a new branch on the Isle of Wight in the future.

The Church Street shop won the Bedfordshire Business Champion award in the East of England Small Business Awards in 2015, which followed several accolades.