Yum Yum World on High Street will close on January 7 after a year-long dispute over business rates, but a huge outpouring of support prompted the business’s owners to tell this newspaper it will not be closed for long.
The owners of the business, which comprises a confectionery emporium complete with play areas and a museum, took to Facebook on Tuesday to announce the closure.
Partial owner of the Yum Yum World, Simon Hawker, said he believes the store is paying disproportionately high business rates and a year-long attempt to appeal the amount to central government, which sets the rates, has not brought any results.
The business’s Facebook statement reads: “Poundland’s rateable value is £107,000 for 30,000 square feet. Yum Yum World is £139,000 for 16,000 square feet.”
Mr Hawker told the Advertiser: “Two appeal managers on the phone have admitted that we are being overcharged, but for the last six weeks any phone calls or communications from me have been ignored.
“I was prepared to board the building up until either a solution was reached or, if not, to close it indefinitely. But we are very moved by how many people have got involved in this and as a result we will not be closed for long.”
He said the business, sited in the old M&S building, has boosted High Street since it opened last year, while he and two family members have not taken a wage.
“It brings people into the town centre,” he said.
“Since we have been here six businesses have opened around us.
“We could relocate to an industrial estate outside the town and pay a quarter of the rates we’re paying now – but that would hurt the people of Rugby and it would hurt the town centre.”
Mr Hawker said he has reached out to Rugby MP Mark Pawsey and the business expects a 'quick solution'.
A petition in support of Yum Yum World has so far gathered 240 signatures.
Rachel Jayne, who set up the petition, said: “People wonder why our town centre is emptying out or filling with charity shops and coffee chains, yet the greed of the government is pricing businesses out.”
Mr Hawker said children’s parties booked for the new year will go ahead, and he is hoping to open a laser tag area when the store reopens.
Visit bit.ly/2Lja7NT to view the petition.