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Gallery falls ‘victim of the High Street’

MBTC-15-01-14- Bedford Street Gallery Woburn.
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Johann Bester.

Bedford Street Gallery closing after five years.

MBTC-15-01-14- Bedford Street Gallery Woburn. b14-023 Johann Bester. Bedford Street Gallery closing after five years.

An art gallery has announced it is being forced to close its doors this year after a loss of trade and hike in its business rates.

Bedford Street Gallery in Woburn will be closing on February 28 after five-and-a-half years in business,

The gallery that offers an eclectic selection of original work from artists across the UK, was opened by friends John Cowlishaw, a lawyer, and Johann Bester, a fashion designer.

John said: “The gallery was our baby, so we do feel very sad that we have had to close.

“We opened just before the recession hit and we thought to ourselves ‘oh my gosh what have we done’. Like everyone else we did not see the recession coming.

“But we thought let’s just see what happens and it actually started off really well. Over the last five years year on year our business was going quite well.

“We had a very good landlord who realised times were tough so we didn’t have any increases in our rent.

“But then last year we were hit with a massive increase in our business rates that was double what we had been paying, and that was on appeal. It was triple originally. But we managed to keep going.

“But then from about the middle of last year trade just started to die off. I think it’s the High Street scenario. People just don’t seem to be using their High Streets any more.

“We were finding that people were coming into the shop, finding the piece of art they liked and then going straight to the artist. We were just being used as a showcase rather than a business. and that just meant we weren’t making enough money.”

John added that he had enjoyed the last five years running the gallery in Woburn and expressed his thanks to his loyal customers and the village. It will stay open until the end of February.

 

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