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Another shop moves on to internet street; Owner closes store for new site in 'space'.

Byline: ARRYN BUGGINS

LEAMINGTON is losing another specialist, independent shop to cyberspace.

Kalabash, which sells African goods, opened in Regent Place, in Old Town, in November 1999. It closes down tomorrow.

Owner Shaki McFarland is going to keep her business in the Leamington area - but run it on the internet.

The closure follows that of Sweet Seductions, in Regent Street, which now only trades over the internet.

Melina's Hats, in the same street, has also closed.

Shaki, aged 23, said: "The shop has done a lot better then I expected but perhaps not as well as I had hoped.

"I have started an interior design course and I will not have the time to be in the shop all day so I have decided to close the shop for now and am sorting out an internet site."

She hopes a lot of her clients will follow her move to the web, as most of her customers come back because of the goods on offer, and are not just passing trade.

Shaki was born in Lagos in Nigeria, but has lived in the Leamington area since the age of 11. She now lives in Warwick.

Items on sale in Kalabash include African masks and giraffes, clothing and musical instruments. Drums proved to be very popular.

Shaki's family help her pick goods for the shop. Most of the items on display come from Nigeria, Kenya and the west coast of Africa.

Shaki added: "I was expecting business to be quite slow. There has always been a lot of interest in Indian goods and clothing, and I thought there would be interest in items from Africa too.

"We do not get a lot of passing trade because of where we are. The shop has become more popular and people have heard of it. But I do not think that trade could grow much more.

"I think Old Town has a lot of potential, but it does need more money spending on it and people taking an interest in it.

"But the businesses down here work well together and it is a nice area to trade."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 16, 2001
Words:352
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