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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Carlisle's Christian book shop forced to close

Staff at Carlisle’s only Christian book shop have lost their jobs after it was forced to close.

Christian book shop photo
Staff, from left, Sara Turnbull, Anne Fisher, Sue Mason and manager Jenny Beattie

The Wesley Owen store, on Fisher Street, shut for the final time on Saturday.

The shop had been up for sale since November when parent company IBS-STL slumped into administration.

Although buyers were found for most of the business, including its headquarters at Kingstown, no-one was prepared to take on the Carlisle branch of the Wesley Owen chain, despite 14 other shops across the country being snapped up.

The closure has left the shop’s four staff out of work.

Store manager Jenny Beattie had worked there for 35 years.

She said she was “gutted” at the closure.

She added: “Myself, Anne Fisher, Sara Turnbull and Sue Mason would like to thank everyone for their custom and support over the last 35 years and especially over the last two months; we couldn’t have done without you.

“We want to say thank you to God for bringing us this far and we pray that this is not the end, but the beginning of new chapters in all of our lives and for the city of Carlisle as a whole.

“We will go out celebrating, not commiserating.”

Bible charity IBS-STL UK put its UK operations up for sale last November after hitting financial trouble.

Kilmarnock-based book publisher and distributor John Ritchie Ltd bought the core business, saving 150 jobs at its Kingstown headquarters.

John Ritchie Ltd will keep the STL Distribution brand.

Ken Munro, chief executive, said: “Our immediate goal is to quickly return the business to the levels of service and stability that customers have enjoyed over many years.

Australian outfit Koorong bought eight Wesley Owen stores, at Bath Birmingham, Bristol, Bromley, Coleraine, Derby, Glasgow and York.

A further six Wesley Owen stores, at Bolton, Cambridge, Coventry, Guildford, Kingston and Stockport were snapped up by CLC International, of Hampshire.

But no-one stepped forward to buy the Carlisle branch, despite the efforts of administrator Baker Tilly.

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