A decision on the future of Beatnik Record Shop and Cafe could come as early as this week – with a range of survival options being considered including the reopening of the popular Altrincham shop.
The Greenwood Street store, opposite the marketplace, has cultivated a loyal following since opening in April last year.
But on August 1 it suddenly announced it would be shutting down with almost immediate effect, prompting an outpouring of disbelief and disappointment from many locals on social media.
A community campaign to keep Beatnik going has already attracted 500 followers on Twitter, and around 25 people have attended two meetings to support its survival.
And it’s understood that today a steering group consisting of former staff, other local traders and regular customers are to meet with owner Carl Emery in Altrincham to thrash out a range of options.
These are believed to include another party taking over the lease (which does not run out until February), partnering with other local art spaces and potentially rebranding, and reopening as the original Beatnik.
When announcing the shop’s closure, the shop’s Twitter account blamed its decision on “local trading conditions” and “recent town centre developments”.
It had said it would be moving into its sister shop Dig, on Bold Street in Liverpool city centre.
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Manager Grant Hobson outside Beatnik Record Shop and Cafe on Greenwood Street
But Beatnik representatives have been taken aback by the strength of feeling surrounding the shop, and that’s prompted the current efforts.
Manager Grant Hobson said the support the shop had received had been “very touching and immensely flattering”.
“When we opened the shop, we wanted to make it more than a retail outlet,” he said.
“What we wanted was to be part of a cultural rebirth in Altrincham. There was more to it than just the shop – we had acoustic gigs, spoken word performances, authors in-store.
“The fact that people don’t want to let go is very touching, and it goes to show that if you do try to reach out there are people who want a sense of community in their shops.
“When we announced the closure there was a lot of expressions of upset, and the social media activism then shifted to on-the-street activism. The people involved are local people, they want to keep it alive.”
Hobson said he was now convinced that “something will happen”. “There will be developments, it’s still nebulous in shape but there’s a definite feeling that something will happen to at least keep the spirit of Beatnik alive.”