Phil Groom writes:
Unfortunately I’m not in a position to take a trip to Sheffield to check up on what’s happening there myself, but if anyone from Sheffield is reading, we’d love to hear from you; and if you’ve taken any photos of the shop recently, even better.
I’ve been reminded that this month marks a full year since the Brewers unceremoniously dismissed the Sheffield shop staff by email. It’s not just a shop that we’re remembering: these are people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by their shabby treatment at the hands of the Brewers, workers whose pay remains outstanding despite J Mark Brewer walking away with £507,000 from the sale of the Exeter shop in September last year.
Are you proud of your record, Mr Brewer?
Here’s some of the history as we have it in the blogs and other reports:
- “Church of England launches campaign against Orthodox charity”
Dave Walker, 4 Feb 2008
‘So claims Mark Brewer, owner of the SSG (former SPCK) chain of bookshops in the title of an email containing the following press release…’
- Further SPCK/SSG shop closures – staff sacked by email
Dave Walker, 5 Feb 2008
‘… Today the staff at the SSG (former SPCK) shops in Sheffield, Lincoln and Norwich were sacked by e-mail and the shops are closed. Signs outside say that the shops are closed for a refit or somesuch.’
- News From Christian Circles…(and squares!)
Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 14 Feb 2008
‘… within the last two weeks numerous SPCK’s including Norwich, Sheffield and Canterbury have been closing…the staff in Norwich and Sheffield were sacked by e-mail after disagreeing to signing a new contract sent by the trust.’
- SPCK Sheffield
Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 16 Feb 2008
‘I have wandered into Sheffield and had a look at the SPCK, and lo and behold…it’s closed … however a sign on the door/window indicates that it will be opening again on the 18th feb, which is good because it shows hope for christian bookshops!’
- Quick update on SPCK
Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 18 Feb 2008
‘The SPCK in Sheffield remained closed this morning despite the sign on the door stating that it would re-open today…’
- Christian chain mulls franchising
The Bookseller, 22 Feb 2008
‘The beleaguered Christian chain has had a tumultuous time since Brewer and his brother Phil took control from SPCK in October 2006. Earlier this month, the Cambridge, Sheffield, Norwich and Lincoln branches closed for “rebranding and restocking”, while the Bristol, Exeter and Salisbury stores have been trading on reduced hours since the beginning of February. Cambridge has since begun trading again, and Brewer said that Lincoln and Sheffield would reopen this week.’
- SPCK Updates and 2 Random Thoughts…
Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 29 Feb 2008
‘Despite claiming that the Sheffield SPCK would re-open 2 weeks ago and nothing happening it seems SSG (new trust running spck) are making yet another promise…they claim this time that SPCK will re-open from tomorrow (1st March) with new opening hours…I wonder how it’ll work with no staff…’
- Sheffield Shop
SPCK Watch, 9 Aug 2008
‘Just a short note to let you know that the Brewers have been locked out of the Sheffield shop and that Phil Brewer is very angry with the landlords for changing the locks. Apparently rent has not been paid for quite some time.’
I’m sure there are other reports on Sheffield out there that I’ve missed: please use the comments to provide details of any you know of.
Meanwhile, to the Sheffield Survivors: We Salute You.