‘Rude’ Hawes bookseller sells up

Steve Bloom. Photo: Glen Minikin.

A bookseller dubbed the ‘Basil Fawlty of books’ after numerous complaints were made about his surly attitude and 50p charge to enter his shop has sold his business, it is understood.

Steve Bloom, owner of Bloomindales in Hawes Market House, attracted headlines around the country earlier this year after it emerged Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council had received 20 complaints about his behaviour .

One customer was so angry about his treatment that he is said to have tipped his dinner over Mr Bloom.

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On another occasion, Mr Bloom called police when a visitor refused to pay the entry fee.

Things reached a head when a doctor visiting from Shropshire wrote to the council to protest that Mr Bloom had verbally abused him.

Mr Bloom admitted calling the doctor ‘a pain in the arse’ – but said he could not recall why.

The parish council wanted him out of the shop, but Mr Bloom, who admitting being ‘medium to low rude’ refused to leave and claimed the authority was waging a witch hunt against him.

However, John Blackie, chairman of the parish council, advised that Mr Bloom had sold up in his response to the latest complaint submitted earlier this month.

Two complaints have been submitted about the bookseller this month, one by a David Morley and one by a Paul Wright.

Cllr Blackie said in a response to Mr Morley: “It could be though his renewed bout of rudeness and unpleasantness he showed towards you and Mr Wright is that it is his last stand because the chairman of the Hawes Market House Trustees, Graham DiDuca, reported at the July meeting of the parish council that Mr Bloom has sold his business and is expected to be leaving the town for good in the next two weeks.

“If so in the opinion of very many local people, the parish council, and myself, it is not a moment too soon and we cannot wait to wave goodbye forever to a trader that in his appalling and utterly unacceptable attitude towards his customers.

“And it was not just visitors – he could be equally rude to local people. This represents the very opposite of all we show and do to extend a very warm Upper Dales welcome to those that come to Hawes for a day out, for their holidays and as local people for their day to day business.

“We are so very sorry you have found it necessary to complain and Mr Wright and I urge you and your family, and Mr Wright’s party, to return some time in the future and I guarantee you will not have the same distressing experience again.

“You will find a rich variety of traders in the town, some characters of course for which the town is famous for, but none who will be rude or unpleasant, I guarantee you. ”

Bloomindales in Hawes has been sold by owner Steve Bloom.

Mr Morley said in his complaint: “We had a pleasant visit to Hawes today that is up until we visited the local bookshop Bloomindales – what a very unpleasant rude man this is.

“I asked for a specific author of book and he was trying to charge me to look around. I felt very uneasy and uncomfortable in his shop and left straight away after this, I was so taken back and shocked that my family actually left Hawes altogether, such a shame the trip ended in this way, a discredit to Hawes.”

The complainant did add however that Hawes had a “lovely little park for the children opposite the rope makers”.

It is understood the business has been bought by a couple who live locally.

Mr Bloom today refused to accept he had been driven out yesterday despite complaining in January of a “vicious witch-hunt” and said he’d sold the shop of his own volition – partly to escape his whinging customers.

He said: “I hope that none of the people who have been trying to drive me out are claiming any kind of victory because it isn’t, I have left of my own free will.

“It got very difficult sitting in my shop listening to people talking about me as the man who charges 50p entry.  I will not miss the moaning.

“I’d be sitting there and have to listen to people saying “this is the shop that was on the news” and “he’s the one who charges entry just to look at his books” and it gets to me.

“I gained a certain notoriety and I suppose much of it was of my own invention but I don’t have regrets.

“I think my restraint has been slipping recently, probably because I knew I was going to leave, so there have been one or two confrontations although I haven’t seen their complaints about me.

“The council were desperate to get rid of me but they didn’t manage, I won that battle.

“They did everything they could to drive me out but they never managed because my position was secure, I had a protected tenancy.

“However I’ve now offered myself up and have got rid of myself, but there’s nothing for them to feel pleased about.

“It is like Donald Trump, they can make a lot of smoke and noise but they cannot get rid of him and so it was with me. It was a feud, there’s no doubt about that.”

It is understood the business has been bought by a couple who live locally.