Christmas has come early for a Stoke Newington vinyl record shop, which has managed to save its business after soaring rent and business rates put it at risk of immediate closure.
Lucky Seven, a shop that has been operating on Stoke Newington Church Street for eight years, will stay open until at least January 2018 after financial support from owner Jason Gore’s family and friends poured in to help make payments for rent and business rates.
Gore received a bailiff’s letter last week, demanding rent payment of £6000 for the September to December period, a 60% rent increase from the £3750 he used to pay per quarter five years ago. Gore has struggled to make rent ever since and had to borrow money every month.
Since the business rate revaluation was introduced on 1 April 2017, Gore now pays £200 a month for business rates, a 35% increase from a monthly bill of £148. These increased running costs have made operation difficult to sustain for small businesses like Lucky Seven in Stoke Newington.
“It’s been forever just playing catch up. The rents are always high around here and they keep going up,” Gore said. But my family have been really good, they’ve helped me a little bit out of this mess. I should be safe until January.”
Though Lucky Seven has avoided closure for now, Gore is concerned that other business owners in Stoke Newington haven’t been so fortunate. “There’s an organic meat shop called Muddy Boots; they’ve only been here two months and already they’ve closed – they were expecting a lot more business,” he said.
Pete Walsh, a long-time customer of the store who travels from Crouch End to the shop in Stoke Newington to buy vinyl, believes the survival of small independent businesses such as Lucky Seven is crucial for the area.
“People come from all over London to Lucky Seven. If his [Gore’s] store wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have those people coming into Stoke Newington,” said Walsh.
Gore hopes that new business strategies will give his vinyl shop a new lease of life. “There’s other stuff I can do – I’d like to get a lot more visible online,” he said.