Enfield loses two more popular small business - Southgate's Ruby Blu and Winchmore Hill's Papylon

Owner Emma Chapman with husband Jay outside Ruby Blu

The gift shop closed down due to high business rates amongst other problems

First published in News
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Enfield Independent: Photograph of the Author by

Two popular independent businesses in Enfield have closed down.

Gift shop Ruby Blu in Chase Side, Southgate, and kitchenware store Papylon in Winchmore Hill both shut their doors this month.

The owner of Ruby Blu, Emma Chapman, admitted it was a hard decision to close her shop but said she believed it was crippling business rates that had the biggest effect on the business.

She said: "We opened two-and-a-half years ago and the business has been a real success but the current economy, lack of parking and the high rates that we have been paying have been too much.

"Landlords are not willing to negotiate the business rates and suppliers have put their prices up so I made the decision to close."

Enfield North MP Nick de Bois and Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes launched a campaign last month to urge Enfield Borough Council to help reduce the business rates paid by small businesses.

A new government scheme is also set to be implemented in April this year, giving a £1,000 discount on business rates.

However, the reduction will be too little, too late for Ms Chapman, who believes the area is losing a "community hub".

She added: "The shop was also a community base. Many people, quite often the elderly, would come into the shop just to have chat and see somebody different, even if they didn’t buy anything. It was a very hard decision.

"David Burrowes has been very helpful but the discount has come too late for me. In the future, I think the reduction in rates will help a lot of businesses.

"I have been humbled by the amount of support I have received and I hope people continue to shop locally otherwise we will lose our sense of community."

Martha Ferguson of Papylon, in Green Lanes, had run her shop for three years but insisted it was not because of business rates that her shop closed but for personal reasons.

She said: "It has been my choice to close the business down after three successful years. We have won six awards in three years and I have enjoyed running my own business."

Mr Burrowes admitted Southgate was losing a great "champion" of its high street and urged for more to be done to stop more small businesses disappearing.

He said: "I am saddened that Ruby Blu in Southgate and Papylon in Winchmore Hill are closing. Emma Chapman has been a great champion of Southgate's high street and we need to keep the energy and interest she has helped generate going.

"We need to do all we can locally and nationally to encourage people to shop local. The Government has played its part with a £1,000 discount on business rates, a cap on increases and extended relief for small businesses as well as cutting £2,000 from employers' national insurance bill. However, the loss of these high quality independent shops must be a wakeup call to the council.

"I do, though, believe Ruby Blu and Papylon have become victims of changing shopping habits in favour of going online rather than just the impact of rates. By contrast some other local shops are thriving. I will continue to do all I can to support our high streets which are the economic life blood of our community."

Community group Love Your Doorstep worked closely with both shop owners and were saddened to hear the news.

Founder Emma Rigby said: "Love Your Doorstep is saddened to hear the news of Ruby Blu and Papylon closing.

"It's independent stores like these that make out high streets unique and special. It's been a pleasure working with two very inspirational woman, Emma Chapman and Martha Ferguson."

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