A STORE in Berkeley described as a “haven” by customers may close in the coming months if a buyer is not found soon.

Baileys News on Market Place has been on the market for 15 months but owner Nick Priest has been unsuccessful in finding a buyer and time is running out for the outlet.

Mr Priest said that, at some point in the future, he will have to close the store if it is not taken over, as it is no longer viable to keep running.

Until recently Baileys News owned a number of newsagents that sold a wide variety of products in the region but has decided to start offloading them.

The Malmesbury store was sold on Saturday, January 4 and stores in Cricklade and Stonehouse had already been sold off in September last year.

Mr Priest is keen to find a new owner for the Berkeley shop, which employs eight people, rather than close the store as he recognises its importance to the area.

“It’s a valued community asset for Berkeley and there’s a high degree of concern about the possibility of it ceasing to be,” he said.

“I would rather do a generous deal and keep it going then lose it all together.

“The trouble is it may seem busy but when you look at the number of transactions multiplied by the value of the transactions you don’t have enough. Suffice to say it is not a viable business model.”

When asked if the two remaining stores on Long Street in Dursley and one in Nailsworth were to be sold in the future, Mr Priest said “they were not being marketed for sale” and added they were still making a profit.

Regular customer at the Berkeley shop, Gill Badsey, said she had signed the petition that has been setup by a member of the public to keep it from closing.

She told the Gazette she has used the store continually since she moved to the town 20 years ago.

“It’s not just a newsagents. There’s cards, wrapping paper, toys, you name it. I think a hole will be left if it closes,” she said.

“It is more like Aladdin’s cave in there and they are so friendly and helpful in the shop.

“It just seems a shame. It is often full with families after school. It's well used, I just don’t understand why they want to close it.”

Anybody interested in buying the Berkeley store is asked to call Mr Priest on 01453 546908.