Online boom spells the end for two businesses

THE recent cold weather has proven to be the last straw for two long-standing Burnham and Highbridge businesses, which are set to close.

GC Music, in Cross Street, Burnham, and cycling shop Skidmarx, in Church Street, Highbridge, will both close their shops later this year.

The owners of the two stores say their decisions have resulted from falling sales in recent years, caused by the growing trend for shoppers to buy their goods online.

Graham Cook has been in business at musical instrument and equipment shop GC Music for 18 years, but said the equipment sold by supermarkets and online sellers has sounded the death knell for his business.

He said: “Musical equipment used to be something that you could only get in specialist shops, but now people buy it online, and they don’t care as much about the quality and service.

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“The recent bad weather really was the final straw for our sales, which have been really hard hit by the online market.

“I think the online retailers and big chains will spell the end for the small retail shops in towns like Burnham. It’s a shame that I have to close down after so many years and having built up a good reputation, but that’s just business.”

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But although the retail side of GC Music will be shutting down after its closing down sale, GC Sound and Lighting, which hires out and installs lighting and PA systems, will continue to trade.

Antony Brooks, owner of Skidmarx, which has been open for seven years, said: “We’ve built up quite a good reputation with keen cyclists, but that’s not enough now that people can buy bikes cheaper online, and have them delivered to their doors.

“The first five years of the business were really good, the next year was more of a struggle, and the last year has been awful.

“The cold weather over the last few months has been terrible for sales as well, but you can’t blame anyone for that.

“Christmas was always a busy time for us, but even that’s changing now as children don’t get bikes for Christmas any more.”

Mr Brooks is also branching into the online world, with his business now set to deliver bike parts and equipment.

He added: “It’s a shame that I won’t be here any more to be the local cycling shop and to repair people’s bikes and give them advice, but if the business isn’t going well then it can’t be helped. Now I’m just looking to phase the old business out and phase the new one in.”

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