Staying open' Staying open' 'Staying open'

PUBLISHED: 09:30 15 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

THE franchise owner of two Threshers shops has vowed to stay open, despite the company filing for bankruptcy and leaving him without a supplier. At the end of October, First Quench Retailing, which owns Threshers, filed for bankruptcy, leading to the clo

THE franchise owner of two Threshers shops has vowed to stay open, despite the company filing for bankruptcy and leaving him without a supplier.

At the end of October, First Quench Retailing, which owns Threshers, filed for bankruptcy, leading to the closure of 373 stores with the loss of 1,738 jobs.

However, at least 80 of those stores are franchises, which pay an initial lump sum of up to £20,000 for a 10-year contract and a monthly fee for the privilege, said franchisee Mike Reid

But Mr Reid, who with his daughter Paula runs the Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth stores in their respective High Streets, said his shelves were running empty - and he had not had a delivery from Threshers for weeks.

However, he said administrators KPMG were still demanding he pay the monthly fee. "Threshers just stopped supplying us."

He said the shelves were "getting bare" but he was still expected to pay his fees.

He said he was "living up to our part of the agreement" but did not seem to get anything in return.

"I'm quite happy to pay rent but some of these other charges to be honest are shrouded in mystery."

He said he had asked for clarification of the charges.

"If I can't get supplied by Threshers I'm not exactly sure what I'm paying for."

Mr Reid says he has been forced to make a deal with alternative suppliers - but does not know under what banner he will trade in the future.

"I'm concerned that we will end up having to trade under a different name.

"The agreement I made was with Threshers, not with anybody else."

He and 50 other franchisees have hired a solicitor to help secure the future viability of the franchise stores.

He said: "Ideally, I would want to be independent. I've not even had two years of the 10-year agreement.

"The businesses are doing well but I really don't know what's going to happen. I've got four staff and my customers to think about.

"I just want to thank all customers for their support. I'm determined to keep open."

Paula added: "People have come in and given their support. Support from the community has been quite overwhelming."

l Threshers, in Exeter Road, which is owned by the company, avoided a first round of cuts and remains open at present but has an uncertain future.

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