Westgate education and children’s book shop The Classroom will close its doors at the start of December.
Adam Taylor, who runs The Classroom in Station Road, says the lease expires on December 7 and the current economic climate means it is not viable to renew it.
The award-winning bookshop will instead be mothballed in the hope that it can be relaunched at a later date if a venue “in the right place and the right price” can be found.
The Classroom business, owned by Adam with parents Susan and Graham, offers Kent Test, GCSE and A Level tuition online and this will continue but the book shop has to close.
The business began as a Kumon franchise in Broadstairs in 2002 and two years later moved to St Mildred’s Road, Westgate. Named Kumon Thanet North it also traded as The Classroom offering free 11+ tuition.
In 2009 Adam, Susan and Graham went completely independent as The Classroom and in 2016 moved to the current location in Station Road.
They started selling books in the waiting room area in 2017 until the pandemic hit and all tuition moved all tuition online.
In 2021 The Classroom reopened with a revamped bookshop which was also used to host events and storytelling sessions.
Dad-of-two Adam, who has a background in teaching, is passionate about making sure children have access to books. In February this year he gave out more than 6,300 free books at 21 Thanet and Canterbury schools to mark World Book Day and this is something he is keen to continue despite the shop closure.
He said: “We are mothballing the shop and hope to be able to open again at some point but at the moment the high street is dead.
“Maybe in six months or so we will see the right place at the right price.
“Even though we have won best bookshop and highly commended awards it doesn’t make any difference, everything is getting worse for the high street. If you have a choice between a child’s book or food, you have to choose food. And it is my generation, who have the younger children, who are really feeling the pinch with mortgages and bills.
“The best bit about the shop has been World Book Day and story times. We will miss the adults but it is the children we will miss most and not seeing them grow up so much.
“(The Classroom donations for) World Book Day made a difference and we will be crowdfunding to see if we can get some money towards buying the books.
“I want to get out and do it again, it tells children we care and love them, a stranger doing something small can make a massive difference to a child’s life.”
Adam has set a target of handing out 10,000 World Book Day books next year and the fundraising page will launch soon.
At the shop, with immediate effect, all stock is 42% off (excluding National Book Tokens) and Adam is assuring people that gift cards will be honoured, book tokens accepted and urges anyone with a free £5 High Five token to claim it before it expires.
Shop fixtures are also being sold.
The Classroom is also a collection point for the Community Kindness – Thanet organisation which arranges for Christmas, and other, gifts to go to those who might be struggling.
Adam said: “There is 50% off if people want to buy a book for a local child in need this Christmas, (cash only).”
These will be passed directly to Sonia Knight from Community Kindness.
The Classroom is at 34 Station Road, Westgate. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.