GENEROUS business owners have stepped in to help a struggling shopkeeper in Matlock.
Five unnamed people who work in the town, including three shopkeepers, came forward after reading about Steve Argent in last week’s Mercury, after he was visited by bailiffs for falling behind on his business rates.
The owner of Matlock Design and Print Ltd on Steep Turnpike accused Derbyshire Dales District Council of failing to provide enough help for new businesses.
He set up in 2010 and faced £600 rent and around £400 business rates – for which he said he gets very little. After falling behind, he was recently told he must pay £1,850 over the next seven weeks or the bailiffs would return to take his work equipment.
The 40-year-old said he was so passionate about the matter, he willing to go to jail over the payments.
But since then, a number of people have stepped in to offer help- which Steve has described as “heroes”.
He said: “They are all people who I have done work for and they have clubbed together and given me enough money to pay off the rates. They have said I can pay it back through orders they have over the coming year.
“I was overjoyed, it’s solved the problem and it means I have a future.
“Quite a few people have come froward and said it’s disgusting what the council has done.
“As soon as the article came out these people came forward.
“I was not expecting it by any means. It restores your faith in humanity and in the business community of Matlock.
“I have to say a big thank you who has showed support, they are heroes. If other people were in the same position I would do the same to help out. We have to stick together because we do not get any help from the council.
“People have said they want to make sure they have a local business. I think people would rather come here than travel all the way to Chesterfield.”
One generous man, who did not want to be named, but donated hundreds of pounds from his own pocket said: “I gave it to him just to help him, he does a really good job and I do not want to see any business close in the town.”