Sales dip forces closure of Kara Model Milliners shop just before landmark anniversary
ONE of Derby's oldest shops has been forced to close only months before its 60th anniversary.
Kara Model Milliners, in Queen Street, has been selling hats and fascinators since February 1953 after being established by Kara Stott.
Niki Collins took over the shop two years ago from previous owner Bev Smith and initially business boomed.
But now she has taken the devastating decision to close the shop after suffering a drop in sales.
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The 41-year-old said: "It is the shop's 60th anniversary in February and it's upsetting that I wasn't able to get the store to that milestone but it's so hard to keep going in the current climate.
"I won't forget about the store – I love it – and if things pick up, who knows? I might be back."
Niki believes the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics are partly to blame for the drop in trade.
She said: "In my first year, the store did really well and I had people coming through the door all the time.
"But this year I think people's attention has been diverted elsewhere with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics and so people haven't been coming through the doors.
"Sales are usually higher over the summer months which then keeps us going over the winter months when there are far fewer sales.
"Not making a lot of money means that I can't buy as much winter stock as I would like and paying the rent becomes difficult."
The shop is based on the edge of the city centre, which Niki also believes may have contributed to its decline.
She said: "We get a lot of people driving past but not many people stop.
"I think more could be done to increase footfall just outside of the main run of shops in the centre."
Niki is now hoping to run consultation appointments from other nearby business premises after firms offered her space in their units.
She said: "Nothing has been set in stone yet but some of the companies run on a appointment-only basis and they've said we can work something out when they are free and use their office space.
"It's been so heartwarming that people are stepping up to help me keep a little bit of the business going.
"I've had a few of my regular customers come to me and say they don't know where they're going to get all their hats from now.
"But I will be running consultation appointments where people can come to me so I will still be there, in some capacity."
Niki can be contacted on 07904 780333 for appointments.