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Historic Ludlow shop ‘over-paid rates for decades’ claim
9:30pm Friday 1st March 2013 in News
ONE of Ludlow’s oldest businesses that is fighting for survival is claiming back alleged overpayment of business rates dating back nearly 10 years.
Poyners in Broad Street battling against a bill for almost £1,000 a month has been granted a small reduction of its business rates and a rebate from 2010.
As reported previously, But the family business that has been selling women’s and baby clothing since 1917 believes that it has been overcharged for the past eight years and is awaiting a decision on a rebate.
“We have had some good news on our rates but in itself it is not enough,” said Margaret Edwards who along with Jean Parker has been running the business for more than 20 years.
The shop doesn’t even have a telephone or computer, priding itself on being different.
It attracts shoppers from all over the world.
In fact Poyners says that more than half of its trade comes from people who live outside Ludlow.
“I would say that 60 per cent of our trade comes from people who live outside Ludlow and so we are heavily dependent upon visitors and tourists.
“They love the shop because it’s different and provides personal service.
“People can see what they are buying, try it on and feel the quality none of which is possible on-line. We really know our customers personally and send them Christmas cards. That is real customer service not a computerised database.”
Despite being caught in a double whammy of rocketing rates and falling trade that is laying waste to High Streets up and down the country Ludlow’s oldest business has not given up hope.
“We will never be able to compete with the buying power of the big chains but have to play to our strength.
“People who move away, even abroad, come back to see us and to buy from us.
There are a number of families that we have clothed for four generations.
“Tourists and visitors are so important to us because they value our difference, have time and generally buy on more than just price.