2:39pm Tuesday 1st January 2013
By Mark Tallentire
CATHEDRAL chiefs are delighted after a new shop exceeded all expectations in its first few months.
Durham Cathedral opened a new shop in its western Undercroft in late October, two-and-a-half years after American brothers Phil and Mark Brewer suddenly closed the previous outlet, located off the Cathedral Cloister.
Having taken over in 2006, the Brewers were accused of running the venture, once described as the best theological bookshop in the world, into the ground.
They quit unexpectedly in January 2010. Six staff who sued for unfair dismissal were later awarded nearly £28,000 compensation.
Cathedral bosses quickly reopened the shop but wanted to move it to a larger space.
Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson officially opened the glass-fronted new shop in early November.
Vanessa Ward, the Cathedral’s business support manager, said in its first few months it had exceeded even the greatest expectations.
“The public reaction has been incredibly positive,” she said.
“People have said what a beautiful place it is, with a fantastic product, making for a marvellous experience.”
Sales were “incredibly encouraging”, Mrs Ward added, with the shop re-establishing its theological base and expanding its gift range.
Income from the shop is gift aided to the Cathedral, supporting its varied work.
Referring to the Brewers’ shop, Mrs Ward said: “It was terrible and tragic. We’ve had to rebuild trust.”
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