Final chapter for Porirua bookshop

RHIANNON MCCONNELL
Last updated 11:24 03/06/2014
Porirua bookstore
RHIANNON McCONNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Hard decision: Owner Phil Neal is closing the Beehive Book Exchange later this month. 

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After 40 years of business the book is closing for a popular Porirua store.

Next month will be the Beehive Book Exchange's last chapter, after business has slowed in the past year.

Owner Phil Neal bought the shop two and a half years ago as a way to move into retirement.

He said that in the first year he made a good profit, but after the PostShop closed last year things changed.

"The turning point was when the post office moved away. It's stripped the area of any form of foot traffic," he said.

"We are just not getting that any more, so it has really put us into hard times.

"In the past three or four months it's really declined. It's been a hard decision to make. This shop is a bit of a Porirua icon."

Neal said groups of young people intimidating passers-by under the Canopies had driven customers away.

To add to the stress, there was a demolition clause in his contract that meant the store would eventually be knocked down as part of the revitalisation of the area.

He said that though Porirua City Council had been good landlords, the clause had been like a sword swinging above his head.

Neal, who works two jobs to cover bills, said he had tried to sell the store, but the profit margin was too small to gain any real interest.

"We've still got our fingers crossed that someone might still come along."

Now begins the process of selling and moving more than 11,000 books before the shop closes on June 29. He said whatever was left after the sale would be given to charity.

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