Hastings Christian bookshop closing

Another Hastings town centre shop is closing after 45 years of service.

Pathways Christian Bookshop in Robertson Street is shutting at the end of January.

The store started in the 1960s and moved to its present site in 1994.

Although run as a business the bookshop is also registered as a charity and has been run for all these years by dedicated volunteer staff, many of whom have managed the shop well into their retirement age.

The shop currently has 20 volunteers.

Ruth Fletcher, senior staff member, said: "It is sad to see the shop go after all these years although I look forward to retiring and having a nice rest.

"Like many businesses it has been fighting competition with on-line shopping and the recent economic recession has been the final pressure that has seen them off. Even without having to pay staff wages it is impossible to meet the cost of rates and overheads.

"It has not just been a businesses concerned with selling books and tapes but one of witnessing goodwill.

"In these times when people are troubled and stressed, many who did not go to a church because they felt alienated by its culture and rituals, would often pop into the shop for a chat and find support and guidance.

"Many a time they went away without a sale but with a feeling that there was hope, a little advice and possibly a loving God who just might care and be interested when nobody else was."

Local churches and church leaders said they regretted the loss of the store.

Rev Ken Clinch, 86, who served at St John's and now Christchurch, St Leonards, said: "This is a very sad day for Hastings to see such a long running business and service to the community leaving town."

Pathways and its staff would like to wish all their customers, the churches and the people of Hastings well.