A threatened Kenilworth bookshop could be saved from closure after its owner announced it was set to be relaunched as a social enterprise.
The Tree House Bookshop in The Square was due to close after owner Victoria Mier admitted last March that the business was not commercially viable any more. She decided to make the news public because she wanted someone to take over the lease on the shop.
There’s lots of potential I think and I feel a lot more positive about the shop than I did before.Victoria Mier
But since then, she received several ideas from customers and friends as to how to turn the business around, and one of the ideas was changing the business from a limited company into a not-for profit social enterprise.
Victoria said the bookshop’s new status will see “new organisational improvements to the shop, a rethink about events and how best to use the shop space, new ideas for what we can offer the community near and far, and above all no further talk of closing.”
She has also appealed to the community to help raise £500 so the bookshop can get its basic finances back on track, and she aims to use “creative ways” to raise further funds. Half of the funds have already been raised through donations.
Victoria remained grounded on the future of the bookshop, but felt better about it than when she announced the possible closure.
She said: “It’s hard to say what the future will bring really as nothing has changed essentially. The finances are still critical.
“But there’s lots of potential I think and I feel a lot more positive about the shop than I did before. Only time will tell if there’s enough potential to turn it around and make it viable.
“The positives outweigh the negatives, I have realised as the days have gone on, and while there is much hard work ahead, I feel the need and the desire to carry on getting stronger, despite regular setbacks.
“I’ve been reassessing everything and seeing where we can make some improvements.
“Since we announced the closure there’s been overwhelming support and I’m very grateful to everyone.
“It’s not going to be easy, but worthwhile things are often hard work.”
Social enterprises are different from normal businesses in that they explicitly set out to improve communities, and in some cases bring about social change. They reinvest the profits back into the business or the community instead of paying dividends to shareholders.
Social enterprises can then use their status to apply for funding from the Government and other sources.