ON reading your unhappy article about Chris Kettle his Happy Buddha business, I recall another article featuring him a few months ago complaining about his business rates and the costs of maintaining 12 staff – which seemed excessive – in a single, quiet shop. At the time Mr. Kettle was threatening to leave for Spain.

I also remember a previous article concerning him about the onerous service charges in the Sovereign Centre which forced him to close there. At the time I wondered whether he had taken these fixed costs into consideration when opening his premises.

It is not difficult to open a shop but it is no guarantee of any type of success other than the questionable benefit of being your own boss.

But then came Covid and the very generous (to my mind) support from the government, as well as guaranteed low interest loans should they be needed. Mr. Kettle’s arguments that he has not been officially told to close seem rather shallow particularly as it seems as though his business could easily sell online.

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The furlough scheme has been extended as has the rates suspension and I understand there will be a modest grant.

I was briefly interviewed by your paper last week about the impact on the High Street of the latest closures so close to Christmas and as a jeweller, with five shops and also with 12 staff, I was obviously very concerned as so much of our trade is conducted in the lead up to Christmas.

However it was apparent that mine is in no way an essential business and therefore there is no question in my mind that I must close. I do not need to be told personally to do so by Boris Johnson.

Finally – and on a happier note, an old joke – let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas.... to send jewellers on Caribbean cruises! (Just not this year.)


Manor Road, Bournemouth