Toy shop in Norfolk town set to close
PUBLISHED: 15:02 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:11 02 August 2018
A toy shop in a Norfolk town where generations of children have spent their pocket money is set to close becoming the latest casualty on the high street.
Toybox Toys in Diss will close its doors for the final time on September 1 due to increasing competition from online retailers and because its owner has been offered another business opportunity.
The shop traded in St Nicholas Street in the South Norfolk town for 16 years before moving in 2012 to a new location in Mere Street, opposite the busy Morrison and Tesco supermarkets, in a bid to attract more passing trade.
But declining revenues and the pressures on high street businesses that have seen even giants like Toys R Us fail have prompted the closure. Roy Minshull, the owner of Toybox Toys, said: “I’ve done it for 22 years but I have been offered another business opportunity that is probably too good to turn down. Rather than working six days a week it probably means I’ll only have to work four or five and having five young grandchildren I will get to spend a little time with them.
“It has declined. Everyone knows with the internet the problems that the high street has got. It makes it difficult for small shops.”
While toy shop chains The Entertainer and Smyths Toys continue to operate branches in Norfolk, Toys R Us in Norwich and Ipswich closed in April.
Mr Minshull said: “That is what made me look at it hard. If Toys R Us can’t make a go of it then how do we compete? It is a question of do I see it improving and if even these big companies can’t make a go of it then can we?
“When people want something these days they just flick on the internet and Amazon. People moan about the high street not being there but they don’t actually support it or the shops that are there. It’s a shame.”
The shop’s lease comes to an end in September and although the cost was not set to rise, Mr Minshull has decided not to renew it.
He said: “It’s a job I’ve loved doing. I’ve watched kids coming in the shop, parents bringing their kids in the shop who are now grandparents, and kids who are now parents bringing their own kids in. I know a lot of families and kids in the town.
“It is going to be a hard one when we finally close the door for the last time. I’ve had kids in tears in the shop already when they’ve heard its closing.”