Knees reaction: Traders and shoppers respond to the news
The Wiltshire Times spoke to shoppers in Trowbridge today to gauge their reaction to the news that HJ Knee is to relocate from the town centre to a retail park in the New Year.
June Drury, 63, from Trowbridge, said: “The town centre is pretty empty anyway for proper retail shops and Knees has been there forever, so it will be very sad to see it go. I expect it to have a big impact on the passing trade and it’s a shame that everything is going out the town.”
Susan Lintern, 65, who comes from Bath to use Knees, said: “I would much prefer it to stay in the town centre as there is so much closing down in the centre.
"It would be much better for everybody if it stayed and there will be nothing left if it goes. I have used it for many years and it’s a terrible shame.”
Miltiadi Kotevski, from Hilperton, said: “It will have a big impact on the town centre and it should not go, it should stay where it is.
"Knees has been part of the town for so many years and provides everything, so it’s a massive shame to hear it is going. I expect the remaining shops will suffer.”
Doris Sandford, 86, from Trowbridge, said: “I wouldn’t go all the way out of the town centre for it. It just gets worse for the town centre and there has been a steady decline of shops in the last fifty years I have been here. There are hardly any shops we want anymore and it is a massive shame to lose Knees as well.”
Timothy Woods, 54, from Trowbridge, said: “I think it is terrible news if it moves and people will have to go out of the town centre to everything like tools and household goods. If it is replaced by an equivalent then it might not be too bad, but Knees has been here for years and are so familiar that it would be detrimental to lose them.”
George McLennan, 78, from Melksham, said: “I come from Melksham to use Knees and you can usually get everything in there, so I was very surprised when I heard the news.
"We don’t know what is going in its place, but if it’s another charity shop or coffee shop then it wouldn’t be good for the centre. I’ve been using it for 60 years so it’s very sad.”
Businesses in the area also reflected on the impact that HJ Knee moving could have on the footfall in the town centre, with many concerned about what will replace the department store.
Tracy Parker, owner of Leykers Coffee Central, said: “It really will be a shame to lose them. It’s a nice big unit, so if we could get something good in its place then it could be a benefit to the town. A few more small independent traders in its place would be good, but it’s hard to say until we know what will be there instead.”
Manager of Timpson Sheri O’Reilly said: “I think it will have a big impact as it’s been here for many years and it’s very well known. It really is a big shame, especially as I often like to shop there myself. It would leave a big hole in the town and I just hope something good replaces it.”
Sally Pinto, owner of Intermezzo Express, said: “It’s very sad news. It’s a huge place and so prominent in the town and I wonder what will now be in its place.
"Knees is a staple of Trowbridge, as it’s been here for so long and is part of the fabric of the town, so it’s a complete shock. The town centre will struggle if it’s left empty and I will probably lose some good customers as a result, but everything seems to moving out of the town.”
Natalie Carpenter, who runs Absolutely Fabulous Flowers, said: “There are so many coffee and charity shops and more businesses going out of the town centre will have a detrimental effect.
"We often send people to Knees for bits that we don’t have, so it’s really a massive shock to see it go. Knees serves a lot of older people and I don’t know whether they will travel to outside of the town centre to use it.”
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