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Gaming store blames closure on tough times for retail

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:50 13 January 2020

Gaming store Henchmans, run by Swaffham deputy mayor Keith Sandle and his wife, Sandra, is set to close. Picture: Courtesy of Keith Sandle

Gaming store Henchmans, run by Swaffham deputy mayor Keith Sandle and his wife, Sandra, is set to close. Picture: Courtesy of Keith Sandle

Archant

A shop which attracts gamers from far and wide has announced it is set to close.

Henchmans, based on Station Street in Swaffham, will shut its doors for final time on Friday, February 14.

The store was first opened in 2012 by the town's current deputy mayor, Keith Sandle, and offers a wide range of games for people to buy or play in store.

Despite having twice moved premises in a bid to "evolve with the times", Mr Sandle says it is no longer feasible to continue operating.

"I think it is just a sign of the times - retail is just not in a good place at the moment," he said.

"Shops like us are always on the edge and it was never going to take much to drop over.

"It is very sad, heartbreaking really. We would obviously like to keep going if we could, for our customers as much as ourselves."

In its eight years of business, Henchmans entertained countless gamers with its array of role-playing games, Warhammer, board games and Yu-Gi-Oh, among other things.

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Three nights a week it even stayed open until 11pm, placing an emphasis on community as it hosted special events for customers.

Many will now have to find a new place to game, a challenging task in Norfolk.

"With Norwich being the closest aside from us, we were actually in a good position from that point of view," added Mr Sandle.

"Unfortunately just not enough people knew about us, which is staggering really.

"We have even had people coming in saying 'I didn't know you existed until I heard you were closing'.

"We've tried to be active on social media but in a way it's a double-edged sword. There is so much information out there that it's very easy for people to miss you."

Although Henchmans' high street presence will soon be no more, Mr Sandle hasn't written off continuing the venture in some capacity.

"We're looking to see if there's anything we can do to stay in business, perhaps not as a shop but as a game-playing venue," he said.

"It seems like we're dead but we'll do our best to stay alive."

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