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New Bridport charity store will open its doors
Bridport ’S tenth charity shop will be opening its doors shortly in the heart of the town centre.
The Ferne Animal Sanctuary based in Chard is opening what will be its third shop in the area as a way to combat falling income, said deputy director Trish Gardner-Harper.
She said in common with many other charities incomes from legacies and donations had been falling.
She said: “Charities as a whole are struggling to get funds for one reason or another so for the past couple of years Ferne has been looking at ways of being more self-funding.”
New marketing manager Kevin Douglas introduced a new four-year marketing strategy which includes opening shops as a way of increasing income.
The charity looked at Taunton, Yeovil, Axminster, Honiton and Bridport.
Mr Douglas said: “This one came up in Bridport and one in Taunton and it is all about location with charity shops, no doubt about it.
“We did a lot of research on Bridport.
“It is the number of people who live here, the number of ABC1s – it is busy on market days.
“The more charity shops there are in a town the more successful it proves to be.
“The high streets are dying – the supermarkets are seeing to that and these shops are just laying empty.
“We get people going past all the time saying: ‘Oh no, not another charity shop.’ “But do they want it empty?”
Ms Gardner-Harper said charities paid a percentage of business rates but the same rents as everyone else.
The shop has appointed two paid staff six days a week – Janet Phillips as manager and Alan Shepherd as assistant manager.
Sue England, from Smith and Smith in West Street, said it was better to have a charity shop than an empty one. She added: “I do have mixed feelings when they sell new stuff though.”
Lyndon Tilbury, of Steptoes in East Street, agreed it was better not to have empty shops.
He added: “Ironically, when we took over here from Save the Children about 15 years ago they were so desperate to get out they paid our rent for the first year.”
Steph Garner, from Bridport Music in South Street, said: “If they can’t get anyone else to go in there it is going to be a charity shop.
“The rents in the high street are higher than we pay here.
“I’d rather see another independent shop but I don’t know who that would be, or who could afford to.
“But it is better to have something than nothing.”
Ms Gardner-Harper added they were in desperate need of donations, particularly clothes.