Back to square one for Kenilworth community bookshop

The Tree House Bookshop in The Square, Kenilworth
The Tree House Bookshop in The Square, Kenilworth
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A former community bookshop in Kenilworth has suffered a major setback after a business that came in to save it has pulled out.

The Tree House Bookshop in The Square had been taken over by Astley Book Farm in July, but commercial reasons meant the company decided to abandon the venture.

Vivienne Mills, the owner of Astley Book Farm said: “We are very disappointed that we have had to withdraw our interest in the Tree House Bookshop. This was a purely commercial decision.

“Victoria is now back at the helm and is an amazing community-minded lady who is determined to make the shop viable in the long term.

“I hope local people will continue to donate and buy books from the Tree House and attend the wide variety of events she hosts.”

Victoria Mier said: “It was unexpected. I think Vivienne just realised that it wasn’t going to be viable. She’s paid the bills for a couple of months, which was great.

“It’s early days but I’m still getting used to the idea that I’m in charge again.

“I’m feeling quite positive at the moment but it’s only two weeks until next month’s rent is due.

“If we can get through that immediate crisis we’ll change the shop into a social enterprise like we had planned, and we can go from there.

“I’m just sorry that it hasn’t worked out but we shall persevere.”

The shop was short on stock after Astley pulled out, as it had bought quite a lot of it and took some of it with them. However, Vivienne decided to leave some for the bookshop, which she did not have to do.

And as soon as Victoria made it clear she needed donations of books, many people responded very quickly, donating large amounts of books to help replenish the shop’s supplies.

Astley Book Farm initially stepped in at a time of financial difficulty for the shop.

It was on the brink of closure in March, but a decision to turn it into a social enterprise in April after taking to customers prevented it from going under.

But Astley’s bid to buy the shop seemed like the best solution until it pulled out.