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Norwich Christian bookshop closes its doors


Norwich’s SSG Bookshop and Resource Centre (formerly SPCK) at St Michael-At-Plea will close its doors tomorrow (June 14) for the foreseeable future, after its owner filed for a form of bankruptcy in the USA and its Norwich staff were dismissed.

This follows the closure last week of the Forget-Me-Not Café along with the dismissal of its three staff.
SSG Norwich senior assistant Tom Ingram, said: “We are selling off all stock at the moment and will close on Saturday for the foreseeable future. All the temporary staff brought in by the agency have been dismissed as the owner has filed for bankruptcy.”
SPCKInsideBoth the Church Times and the Bookseller are reporting that SSG LLC, which runs the 20 former SPCK bookshops in the UK, told staff and suppliers in an email last week that it had filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in Houston, Texas.
SSG employees were told that “payroll, redundancy and other such obligations will only be payable through the bankruptcy court”.
The SPCK Resource Centre’s original staff were all fired on February 5 via an e-mail from owners Mark and Phil Brewer from the Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust, which bought the SPCK bookshop business in October 2006.   The Norwich shop had since reopened temporarily.
John Betts, ex-chairman of Transforming Norwich, has been exploring a co-ordinated initiative to safeguard the future of Christian literature in the centre of Norwich.




Barbara (Guest) 13/06/2008 20:09
Its such a shame that we have lost yet another Chrisian book shop! and people have lost jobs as well with not much help by the sounds of things
David Chamberlin (ex-Norwich) (Guest) 13/06/2008 22:37
The latest twist in a tragic saga. I feel so sad for the dedicated staff who served me and many others so well over the years at Pottergate and St Michael-at-Plea. We are fortunate in Cambridge in that we have a Wesley Owen shop, which has risen creatively to the challenge of the demise of SPCK here - I wish John Betts well with his endeavours in Norwich.
Steve (Guest) 14/06/2008 16:08
Today is very sad day for members of the Christian community of Norwich and beyond. They no longer have an ecumenical reource centre to provide goods, meet friends, be refreshed, exchange banter, debate and listen to sometimes world renowned speakers. But rest assured that after 10 long months of more twists and turns than a Tim Henman Wimbledon, the prospect of the centre returning in it's original ethos looks reasonably bright and hopefully not too far distant. Setting the centre up wasn't without it's many challenges and delays.
So please keep praying, especially for the ex-staff who are nearly all still without employment.
Miracles still happen - every day!
David Fitzgerald 15/06/2008 09:17
How incredibly sad. I have often met friends and family over a light meal or coffee at the Forget Me Not Cafe, have used the bookshop often (and loved particularly the second hand book section). To me this was sacred space within a turbulent, commercial & greedy world. I join many others in praying that a solution may be found quickly and that once again we shall see a Christian Bookshop and the wonderful Forget Me Not Cafe restored (remember dear friends, after death comes resurrection!). Norwich is a large & fast expanding City with a thriving and growing Christian community, we NEED you back ASAP! God Bless you all, dear friends, who have served us so well over the years. Thank you.
Mark Tiddy (Guest) 17/06/2008 17:32
It is a sad day...there's some interesting twists though, the company now dealing with the stores during SSG's bankrupcy is owned by the brewers who happen to own SSG.
There's more information on Dave Walker's blog
Luis - UEA student (Guest) 04/07/2008 18:36
It was a sad surprise for me this afternoon. I was just going to have a cup of tea and have a look on the books when I saw people taking the furniture off the beautiful church. Norwich Christians have lost a very good place to go.
Steve (Guest) 11/07/2008 13:34
The equipment that Luis witnessed being processed out of the church, was tables, chairs, chillers, warmers and fridges, evidently being transported up to another church in Bradford. As previously reported the centre had already been stripped of stock and some shop fitments.
Please continue to pray and watch this space for a possible 'resurrection' of the centre in it's original form. A decision on it's future use should be made fairly soon. If it's a geen light for a new and improved Christian Resource Centre, an official story will be made available for visitors to this site.
You might be able to help restore a much valued community resource.
It's never over until Nadal can't see the ball!

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