Businesses lose £40,000 after town centre "siege"
4:50pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in County News
Town centre businesses lost more than £40,000 in takings after a 26-hour stand-off between police and a 25-year-old man at a town centre flat brought parts of Haverfordwest to a standstill, conservative estimates suggest.
Much of Bridge Street, one of Haverfordwest’s busiest shopping areas was closed for more than 24 hours between last Friday and Saturday.
While some shops were unable to disclose exact figures, most businesses said Saturday was usually the busiest day of the week and the good weather would have brought people into town.
Nicky Brewer, who owns the Funky Den and army surplus store at Riverside Market, said: “Friday and Saturday make up our week.
We had lots of fancy dress costumes which were being picked up.
“We lost around £1500+, which we are very likely to have to absorb as a loss.”
Ocky Whites owner Jeremy White said: “After the hassle of Friday and Saturday, we are trying to get down to the nitty gritty and work out how much we have lost, not just in takings, but staff wages and wasted food from our restaurant.”
Riverside Market Cafe owner Tonia Williams said she had to cancel all her staff and was not in a position to pay them.
She said: “The staff I have here have all got mortgages to pay and families to look after and I do too.
“My living is my takings and I could have lost customers to my competitors because of what happened,”she added.
Ramsdens manager Malcolm Thomas said: “We all understand the importance of preserving human life but the independent shops in the town will have been hit really hard by losing a day and a half trade.”
Shoe Zone manager Martin Toombs said the store had taken £1,300 on the same day last year, but his main concern was the time he had lost.
He said: “We’re in the middle of our summer/autumn stock change and I had to come in on my day off to catch up.”
Thorntons said it had lost a quarter of its trade and Dorothy Perkins also reported a loss of around 30%, while Burtons said the store had lost over half its weekly takings.
Andrew Thompson from the chamber of commerce said: “We are pleased that the siege is now over.
"Unfortunately the businesses in Bridge Street have now lost trade for those days along with still having to pay staff wages.”
Castle ward county councillor Tom Tudor said: “Fortunately the situation was resolved without anyone getting harmed, which was the primary concern for everyone involved.
“It was obviously disappointing for businesses in the town because of the loss of trade,” he added.
But it was not all bad news for everyone – Costa took double the usual amount of money as shoppers and workers flocked to the other side of the river to watch the ongoing drama.
Costa assistant manager Emma Sutton said Saturday was “phenomenal” and takings were “something like 50% growth on the same time last year.”