Hampstead stationer draws a line after 26 years

Arvind and Taruna Mistry can no longer compete with the internet

Arvind and Taruna Mistry can no longer compete with the internet - Credit: Nigel Sutton

An independent stationer is closing down his store after 26 years in Hampstead.

Arvind Mistry who has run Belsize Stationers, in South End Road, with his wife Taruna since 1989 says he can no longer compete with the internet.

He also said parking restrictions and over-zealous parking wardens in South End Green had seen customers driven away over the last few years.

The opening of Marks and Spencer the other side of South End Road and the closure of a neighbouring post office had also reduced footfall.

The businessman, who has served local schools and celebrity customers from broadcaster Bill Oddie to actor Tom Conti, said: “I feel very sad. But the world is changing and you have to adapt. My local customers are so supportive, but that is not enough to pay the rent on the shop.”

Mr Mistry, 59, who started in the stationary trade aged 19 with a shop in England’s Lane, Belsize Park, will now continue operating as an onine supplier after teaming up with a new manufacturer.

Wife Taruna, 56, said: “We have been blessed to work in such a wonderful area with such support from local people. I will miss them all. Working here has have given us so much pleasure but, like so many other shops and busineses, we cannot compete with the internet.

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“I will really miss the view I have through my shop door of the trees on Hampstead Heath and people popping in for a chat.”

Local supporters are planning to gather at the shop on the last day of trading on December 19 to say goodbye to the popular couple.

Actor Tom Conti said: “It’s such a shame to see the stationery shop going. I have been a customer for years and years. It’s all down to the internet. Soon there will be no shops, just cafes with people sitting on their laptops or phones.”

David Kitchen, chair of South End Green Association (SEGA), said: “Arvind and Taruna are so much part of the green and stalwart supporters of SEGA. They do so much for the community and will be sorely missed by us all.”