Devizes angling store is sunk by internet

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Keith Nisbeck was the owner of Bernie's Bait Shop on Snuff Street, Devizes                                                              (VS206) By VICKY SCIPIO Keith Nisbeck was the owner of Bernie's Bait Shop on Snuff Street, Devizes (VS206) By VICKY SCIPIO

Angling shop owner Keith Nisbeck says cut-price internet retailers who got their hooks into his customers have forced him to close his Devizes business.

Mr Nisbeck, who ran Bernie’s Bait and Tackle shop in Snuff Street for ten years, said: “In the end people could buy equipment cheaper off the internet than I could buy it wholesale.

“I was very sad to have to close the shop but I just couldn’t go on. It is a shame as it was something I always wanted to do and I really enjoyed it. The shop was also a bit of a social centre for older people in the town as they used to like to come in and chat about angling, even if they didn’t spend much.”

Mr Nisbeck, 62, who lives in Great Cheverell with his wife Glenis, finally shut up shop in January.

He said: “I had to go into hospital for a knee operation and so it made sense to close the shop then. I couldn’t have afforded to carry on for much longer.”

He said fewer and fewer young people were taking up angling and this also affected his sales.

He said: “I used to run evening sessions for youngsters on Tuesdays and I would have around 30 coming along but it eventually dwindled to just two or three so I had to stop.

“I think a lot of youngsters these days prefer to be inside playing on computer games rather than out fishing.”

His business was also affected in 2010 when the road was closed while new shops and flats were built on the opposite side of the street.

He said: “I must have lost about £20,000 in the course of a year and for a small business like mine it is difficult to come back from that.”

Terry Fell, secretary of Devizes Angling Association said it was a shame for the town that its fishing tackle shop had closed.

He said: “In summer you get a lot of people who want to fish on the canal and it will be a blow for them to be unable to buy bait in the town.

“But it is a difficult time for angling shops generally as numbers are down and the wet weather has meant people have not been able to fish in many places.”

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