Letter from a Decorator

Phil Groom writes:

Received the message below over the weekend via a comment left on My Story. I have no way of verifying Nigel’s story, of course, but to my mind it has the ring of truth about it:

Dear Sir
My name is Mr Nigle Blakemore and i am writing because i did some decorating on the 27th of january 2009 to the 30th of january 2009 it has been a month now since i have not received my cheque.

the decorating i had done for , ENC SHOP MANAGMENT COMPANY SP1 2PE salisbury ST Johns Street.
was finished on the 30th of January, i gave the shop assisent whos name is Val an invoice on the 5th of February 2009 , she has told me that she sent the invoice off to you in Bradford because you were the main ofice but she would not give me your phone number so that i could get in touch with you on this matter. plaese could you help me sort this matter out .

many thanks
yours sincerely

Mr Nigel Blakemore

I’ve replied as below, but if anyone else has any advice or suggestions for Nigel, please leave them in the comments on this post — and if anyone from Salisbury reads this, please invite your local media to get in touch to help raise awareness of this latest Brewer outrage.

As I’ve suggested with Worcester, I think the most appropriate response is a complete boycott of the shop. If we can get the local media on the case and gain the support of Salisbury’s churches, hopefully the Brewers will get the message that their ways of doing business and dealing with people are not acceptable.

Thanks for copying us in on your message, Nigel — presumably you’ve sent this to the Bradford shop? If not, you’ll find their contact details on their website here, Third Space Books – Bradford, but it might be worth contacting J Mark Brewer directly via his office in Texas: Brewer & Pritchard – Contact Us.

Sadly, you are but one of many victims of J Mark and Philip W Brewer’s tendency not to pay those who work for them and I’m sorry to learn that you’ve had to find out about that the hard way.

I suspect that the only way anyone can be sure of being paid by these guys is to insist on full payment in advance; or in your case, having already done the work, to seek legal advice: your local Citizens Advice Bureau might be a good place to start. It might also be worth contacting your local paper: sometimes public embarrassment seems to work. Would the Salisbury Journal be interested in your story?

9 responses to “Letter from a Decorator

  1. Valiant for Truth

    I think most would agree with the idea of a boycott as the quickest means to close the shops. However, the difficulty is getting this message across to the customers, as many still think of the shop as SPCK and feel a loyalty to the staff, and in some locations it may be the only Christian bookshop. Also, suppliers are part of the equation. I gather some suppliers will not supply the shops under any circumstances, but others will supply pro-forma, and some secular suppliers are still supplying on invoice.

  2. I’m sure that the Bradford manager has sent Mr Blakemore’s invoice to Bountiful where the manager of all the shops lives. When and if Mr Blakemore is paid, it would be nice to know where the cheque comes from. Will it be Durham, Chichester or ENC? Some have been trying the source of payments for a while.

  3. If there should be a boycott somebody should tell the Dean of Durham. He has a book launch at the shop in April.

  4. Ouch

    I feel bad about this letter. I saw the guy working and almost went up to him to warn him to get paid cash before he went any further.

    Just shows you what scum the B****** are that they get the shops spruced up but won’t pay for the work done. Just shows you how far away from Christian values they live their lives (the workman is worth his pay).

  5. To cut off the life-blood of income, one must stop the sales. Surely a book launch in a shop is a proposal to increase sales, but in Durham surely 360+ people have said they want rid of the Brewers, thus we presume the Dean & Chapter of Durham want the Brewers to stay despite all of the people who feel otherwise. Puzzling that.

  6. Phelim McIntyre

    Some people will say when reading these call to boycott the shops – what about people’s livelyhoods at this time of recession. To them I ask (especially those still working in the shops) what do your actions say about the bullying tactics of the Brewers. Jesus’ teaching about turning the other cheek was not about being a doormat and allowing bullies to walk over you. It was a call to act and humiliate the oppressor by showing them up. Shopping or working in Chichester, Durham or ENC does not support the workers it supports the bullies.

  7. I am very sorry for Nigel Blakemore, but, frankly, just looking at the Salisbury SSG shop should ring alarm bells. At Sarum Books in Catherine Street, Salisbury, we are working hard to fill the void left by SPCK. There is a real alternative in Salisbury with an experienced bookselling team who know the SPCK market!

  8. Looking at any of what used to be SPCK Bookshops should ring alarms. Well done Mark Clifford.

  9. More info about Mark’s shop, Sarum Books, here:
    Preparing for Lent in Salisbury
    and here:

    Well worth a visit if you’re ever in Salisbury.

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