A music shop owner has spoken of his devastation and anger after his ‘legendary’ business was forced to close.
Bailiffs arrived last week to shut down Custard Cube on Blackburn Road in Accrington and empty his shop of more than 30,000 CDs and 100,000 vinyl records.
The Observer revealed in November how the 62-year-old was left with a £28,000 legal bill after losing a three-year legal battle with Hyndburn council. The civil court case was over rent arrears dating back to 2010, when Custard Cube was based in the Market Hall and he was unable to appeal.
Speaking to the Observer on the day of the closure, Mr Bowes said ‘they have taken absolutely everything’ and that he could possibly be left homeless.
He said: “I would like to say goodbye to my customers. The shop is being dismantled. It’s done, it’s gone, it’s lost. I’m signing on the dole. They are taking absolutely everything.
“I want to express my apologies and I hope that the people who instigated all of this can live with the fact that they are making a 62-year-old unemployed and possibly homeless as they might be going after my house.
“I never expected it to come to this. I expected to die in this shop and I would’ve been happy to die in this shop. I’m crying inside. I’m so gutted but there’s nothing I can do. I’m having difficulty standing here watching it. Since this court case has started I haven’t slept.”
Qualified teacher Jim, who lives in Accrington, has run Custard Cube in the town for 25 years and said he has put his ‘entire life savings into the business’.
Jim said it will take several days to empty all the stock which is set to be sold at auction.
He has also appealed for volunteers to help him remove fixtures and fittings before returning the unit back to the landlord in three months’ time.
Jim said: “I started this shop with a fiver and put in about £1 million over the last 25 years.
“I want it to go down as the legend it is. I have to give three months’ notice and I have to sort out all the dilapidations.
“I don’t have any money or transport and at the end of the day all of this wood [from the fixtures and fittings] has to be cleared.”
Speaking to the Observer in November, council bosses said the £28,000 bill came from a private firm of solicitors acting for their insurers and not the council.
Councillor Clare Cleary had said: “Mr Bowes legal claim was unsuccessful and the £28,000 bill reflects the legal costs incurred by the insurance company in defending the claim. I wish to stress that the litigation was driven by Mr Bowes who had plenty of time and opportunity to drop his claim for damages and therefore avoid such a high bill.
“Ultimately, Mr Bowes could have avoided this situation.”
Hyndburn council declined to comment further when we contacted them this week. Anyone interested in volunteering to help clear the premises should speak to Jim at the shop.