A magic shop owner has said she believes supermarkets and the internet are to blame for her business closing.
Sabrina Cooper, who owns Cooper’s Magic Shop in Cornfield Road, has announced it will close next month.
She said, “The last five years with the internet has destroyed all the independent shops. Everyone goes online now, or shops in superstores.
“It’s been a family business from 1960 up until now. I was busy, it was fantastic. I had six to eight staff – now it’s just me. It’s soul-destroying.”
Sabrina is the niece of Tommy Cooper, the world-famous magician and comedian. Her father David Cooper was Tommy’s brother, who set up Cooper’s Magic Shop with her mother Zena. Sabrina brought the business down to Eastbourne after he passed away.
Cooper’s has one of the largest selections of fancy dress and accessories in East Sussex. Now, Sabrina says many similar shops are closing because of competition.
She said, “When my grandchildren grow up there won’t be any magic shops, it’s so sad. It’s the end of Cooper’s. Everyone knows my shop. To be destroyed like this is not very nice. I’m going to miss all my customers. I’ve had some come in crying because I‘m closing.
“Will superstores allow people to try on costumes? Or explain how to deal with the latex and fake blood and special effects? I have years and years of knowledge of it.
“They could have come in here and got my advice, or seen a magic trick. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
“I have had so many tears. It’s not fair. People should go to their local shops and stores and support them.”
There will be a closing down sale starting next week, with 50 per cent off all items.
Planning permission has been sought by 7Bone Burger Company to change the premises into a burger restaurant, which Sabrina says she supports and hopes will bring more business down Cornfield Road.