A music shop which has been part of the local business scene for ten years has closed.
Simmonds Music, of Westgate, closed last week. Business owner Tom Simmonds was diagnosed with an incurable neuromuscular disease last year which has made it impossible for him to continue. He also says trade has been very poor in the last year.
Referring to his health, Mr Simmonds told the Journal: “It has meant that just performing day to day tasks was much too difficult for me and that, coupled with a massive decline in sales, meant the only option was to shut the doors and call it a day which is very unfortunate.”
Mr Simmonds, who is in his early forties and married with a young daughter, said the music school will continue at the Westgate premises where more than 300 students are taught by a group of seven teachers. Grantham Estates will continue to rent out the top floor of the premises for the school.
Mr Simmonds was a double winner at the Grantham Journal Business Awards in 2016, winning Independent Retailer of the Year and the Judges’ Prestige award.
He said: “The business has been going for ten years. It started off as Fox Music. I closed the doors last Wednesday and I miss it already. I would like to thank all my loyal customers and the teachers over the years who have supported the shop. I will miss it terribly. It was my dream.”
Derek Cornell worked with Mr Simmonds at the shop as an instrument repairer. Mr Cornell has now set up his own business, Cornell’s Instruments at Balderton, near Newark.
He said: “For my part, I was the repairer, self-employed. We had a very happy business relationship for six years but unfortunately the trade has dropped off dramatically in the past year or two. I think the overheads got too much. I am carrying on the same as before. I would prefer to be in the high street but beggars can’t be choosers.”
Mr Cornell said he and Mr Simmonds had been very proud of the business. He said: “Things started to tail off a bit, a distinct lack of footfall. There was very little local trade for the past couple of years.”
Steve Bowyer, strategic lead for InvestSK , said: “It’s very sad to see The Real Burger Co (see below) and Simmonds Music announcing their closures.
“It illustrates the value of the £40m investment being made by South Kesteven District Council to develop the area’s economy and support local business growth. That investment will support a wide range of regeneration projects delivering benefits for our town centres.
“InvestSK is a key part of the council’s commitment to help the local economy, including improving our markets and supporting local retailers and businesses. The council is investing heavily in Grantham town centre and we are confident that the town’s new multi-screen cinema complex will help revitalise the town centre by attracting an estimated 250,000 visitors a year, many of whom will support our independent retailers.
“We need to make sure that our positive messages are widely heard, and that InvestSK takes every opportunity to work closely with existing local businesses to support them and help them grow.”