THE world crafts shop ­Metamorphosis is set to live up to its name this weekend when it closes its St Ives premises and becomes a web-only business.

THE world crafts shop ­Metamorphosis is set to live up to its name this weekend when it closes its St Ives premises and becomes a web-only business.

Rising rent and rates have led owners Keith and Cherry Durrant to take the “leap of faith” to concentrate on their online business when their Market Hill shop closes its doors for the last time on Saturday (April 9).

Mr Durrant, 62, said he and his wife, who started the business 35 years ago before settling in St Ives 16 years ago, had been overwhelmed with support for the business since announcing their plans in February.

“We don’t want to leave feeling bitter. Things change, and we move on. We are moving with a positive attitude,” he said.

“Since we announced our closure, we have been so busy and we have had so much support from customers and other businesses. It has been like Christmas every weekend.”

Following the death of their long-term landlord last year, the building housing Metamorphosis was sold, and the rent rose sharply.

“He was an old St Ivian and liked having shops in the town. He gave us a good rent that couldn’t be carried on after he died,” said Mr Durrant, who decided online sales was the way for the business to survive.

“Things seem to be moving towards websites. Our towns are changing – I don’t like to use the word dying – but they are not as diverse as they used to be.

“People say they want independent retailers but no one does anything about it.

“All we get are increased parking charges, increased rents, increased rates. People are leaving the towns.”

Once the shop closes, Mr and Mrs Durrant aim to relaunch the website to continue serving their customers, but they are also looking at ways of preserving their link to St Ives. That could be through a community section on the website, where youth and cultural groups in St Ives can post their news.

Mr Durrant said he had also been approached by other high street shops with a view to using their premises as a pick-up point for customers to collect orders.

“That would retain a little of the physical link to St Ives. We feel a part of the town, and we want to stay in contact,” said Mr Durrant.

He said that Metamorphosis currently only did a small amount of business through the website, but that customers who previously travelled long distances to visit would be able to use the site conveniently.

Councillor Tom Bletsoe, formerly a member of St Ives Youth Theatre, one of the groups that Metamorphosis regularly sponsored, said he was saddened at the shop’s closure.

“I feel quite upset at the news, though pleased that it will continue to trade online. Metamorphosis has always been supportive of the youth theatre, and it is a shame it is not staying in St Ives.”

INFORMATION: The Metamorphosis website is www.metamorphosis-st-ives.com