ONE of Huntingdon’s longest-established retailers is to close.

ONE of Huntingdon’s longest-established retailers is to close.

The Card Gallery on the High Street, which served the town for more than 30 years, lost over £20,000 in the past 12 months and will close on December, 17.

Owner John Nunn said a combination of inflated rents and low footfall made it impossible to remain open. He also criticised landlords for not being prepared to let shops “have a go”.

“We made the decision two weeks ago,” he told The Hunts Post. “We’ve lost too much money over the last three years. The leases cost too much: they’re virtually on a par with Peterborough but we don’t have the footfall to match, which means we’re running at a loss.”

Mr Nunn, who also owns the Pig ’n’ Falcon pub in St Neots, said he had tried to find alternative premises but landlords seemed unsympathetic small businesses.

The former vice-chairman of Huntingdon Town Partnership (HTP) set-up his first card shop in October 1981 at 33 High Street and in 1983 moved to All Saints’ Passage. From there he set up two similar shops and employed 30 people.

“We set up at the beginning of the card market,” he explained. “That was before the likes of Clintons, Birthdays and the 99p shops came to the town.

“Now we just can’t compete.”

While he praised the revelopment plans for Chequers Court, he added that more needed to be done to boost the town’s nightime economy.

“There is no proper nighttime economy in Huntingdon, whereas St Neots is thriving.”

“We’ll definitely be back within a couple of years,” he added. “Moving out of Huntingdon, I feel like I’m losing a part of myself.

“I’d love to be part of it again, and at the moment I’m exploring a number of options for the future.”

Current HPT chairman, Angela Owen-Smith, told The Hunts Post: “John was an absolute stalwart of the town. He was vice-chairman of the HTP for some time and had a huge knowledge about Huntingdon. It’s a great loss to the town.”