A POPULAR games shop in Portadown could be forced to close its doors unless it receives a rent reduction.
That was the stark warning this week from the proprietor of Creative Destruction, a premises in Portadown’s Millennium Court where young people and adults enjoy various games.
Creative Destruction opened in Unit 8 at William Street on Friday, May 13 last year and the success of the business meant owner Michael Hermin expanded into Unit 7 last October.
However, Mr Hermin says the crippling costs of rent and rates have forced him to look for alternative premises.
He recently met landlords Portadown 2000, the organisation tasked with developing Portadown and the town centre, about a rent reduction, but claims he was given an initial rebuff.
Mr Hermin said, “I asked for a rental reduction at the start of July and the written response from the finance committee (of Portadown 2000) was ‘no’.
“I asked for a meeting with the finance committee and two members, Mr Arnold Hatch and Mr Eamonn Flemming, attended in addition to Tony Fearon. I attended the meeting and Mr Hatch asked me if my pricing was correct. Whilst I told him that I cannot negotiate with utility providers and statutory agency, but I can hopefully negotiate with Portadown 2000.
“I pointed out that Creative Destruction is a start-up business and very much a community type venue, essentially a lads and dads club. We do also have females who also participate in the various table, board and card games, such as Flames of War, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k and Chess.”
Mr Hermin believes Creative Destruction, which is open from 1 to 10pm, six days a week, offers an important service to young people from different cultures across Portadown.
“We are a community-type organisation for young people, and we are there for the young people, to give them something that is on offer at very few venues in Portadown,” he added. “Portadown 2000 are meant to be community-focused and they are supposed to be there for the benefit of the town. If I don’t get a reduction then I will go to Craigavon Borough Council on this matter
Mr Hermin has now been asked to put forward his arguments in a written paper before the next meeting of Portadown 2000’s finance committee.
A gamer who regularly goes to Creative Destruction said Mr Hermin “goes out of his way to provide a safe, family-friendly environment where folks young and not-so-young can come together to enjoy each other’s company”.
He added, “By having such games in store, CD is helping to introduce younger folk to the concept of having a worthwhile hobby.”
The Portadown Times asked Portadown 2000 for its response, but it failed to return telephone calls.
You can text us your views to 84555, starting your message with PTTEXT and then a space.