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Sign of the times for shop’s new chapter

GIANT numbers have been added to a unique Bognor Regis shop’s windows to proclaim its half century in the town.

 

The numbering of 1968-2018 was put up by owner Jason Passingham to draw attention to the 50th anniversary of Heygates Bookshop.

 

He said he believed the longevity of the High Street business was possibly because it had continually evolved to meet changing tastes and interests.

 

“Jigsaws were added, and I have started to build up the maps section as well as comics, graphic novels, modern first editions and collectors’ books,” he said.

 

“We have also embraced social media and we now take card payments.

 

“It’s all about continually improving what we do and how we do it.

 

“Also, the shop has for many years been at the heart of the community, lending its support to several locval groups and causes, such as the art society and seafront lights.

 

“If you support the community, you find the community supports you.”

 

Heygates Bookshop was started in 1958 by the father of Caroline Ragless (nee Heygate). He was apparently trying to diversify away from the more perishable fruit, veg and flowers which the family had sold for many years at 57 High Street and other locations around the town.

 

Selling mainly second-hand books, the shop’s unique selling point has been its exchange system.

 

This allows readers to take books in and receive tokens which can be redeemed off other books in part-payment. It also ensures the books keep coming back.

 

Mrs Ragless continued the family tradition until she retired in December 2016. Mr Passingham took over for a new venture after he had worked in local government for many years.

 

He has transformed the business with new fascia signs and metres of new shelving on which to place his stock.

 

But he has kept the name out of respect for its place in the town’s history.

 

He intends the bookshop to continue to be a part of that history for many years to come.

 

“Who knows what the future may hold?” he added. “I was told by my teachers that I was dyslexic. Yet here I am running a bookshop, so anything is possible.

 

“I often hear people say that they don’t enjoy reading but I just say they have not found the right book.

 

“And that is a service we aspire to provide at Heygates bookshop.”

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