Bankrupt Preston Travel pens heartbreaking letter to North Finchley customers

Bankrupt travel company pens heartbreaking letter to customers

Preston Travel, which has had a shop in North Finchley High Road for more than 60 years, went out of business earlier this month

Directors, management and staff posted this heartbreaking notice in the shop window

The firm was one of the founder members of the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) in the 1950s

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A bankrupt travel company penned a heartfelt letter to its customers when it went out of business, blaming high street rents and parking restrictions.

Preston Travel in North Finchley High Road ceased trading earlier this month after more than 60 years as a member of the Association of British Travel Agents.

The firm specialised in holidays to the Channel Islands but said it had “no alternative” but to close, resulting in the loss of around 30 jobs.

A notice in the window of the shop signed by the directors, management and staff gave an insight into the struggles faced by the business over recent years.

It read: “We very much regret to advise you that we have ceased trading with immediate effect.

“Over a period of time, the cost of rent and rates associated with our high street premises have risen inexorably, and at a faster rate than we could match with new business.

“The more recent parking restrictions, along with difficult trading conditions over the last four years whilst we have been in the grip of a financial squeeze, has taken its toll.

“It is sad, given that our company was amongst the founder members of the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) in the 1950s and that we have been in business well over 60 years, to find ourselves no longer able to serve customers who, in so many cases, have become personal friends.

“We have valued your custom and have always sought to serve you to the best of our ability.

“We know that you, like us, will be disappointed with this news, but the present economics leave us with no alternative.”

The Times Series has been unable to contact anyone from Preston Travel since the closure.

Comments (5)

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12:55pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

No doubt the usual bunch of lefties will try and blame the sad demise of this company on Barnet Council’s parking policies, but the reality is different. Travel agents can no longer rely on passing trade for their business. Nobody goes out to buy a loaf of bread and thinks “I know, I’ll buy a holiday to Spain at the same time.”

The business of planning and buying holidays has evolved with the rise of the internet and travel agents have been forced to adapt their business model accordingly. Those who have changed, will survive. Those who do not, will not.

Barnet Council is not responsible for setting rents which, in any case, have, on average, been falling for several years. Landlords live in the real world. The over supply of stock pushes down rents. Most landlords are pragmatic and will respond favourably to a tenant’s request to re-negotiate the terms of a lease rather than risk the tenant going bust.

Just as the motor car made blacksmiths redundant, so the internet has changed the way we do business. It is unfortunate that this company has closed down, but blaming everyone else for their misfortune, doesn’t absolve the owners from their own failings and a changing world.
No doubt the usual bunch of lefties will try and blame the sad demise of this company on Barnet Council’s parking policies, but the reality is different. Travel agents can no longer rely on passing trade for their business. Nobody goes out to buy a loaf of bread and thinks “I know, I’ll buy a holiday to Spain at the same time.” The business of planning and buying holidays has evolved with the rise of the internet and travel agents have been forced to adapt their business model accordingly. Those who have changed, will survive. Those who do not, will not. Barnet Council is not responsible for setting rents which, in any case, have, on average, been falling for several years. Landlords live in the real world. The over supply of stock pushes down rents. Most landlords are pragmatic and will respond favourably to a tenant’s request to re-negotiate the terms of a lease rather than risk the tenant going bust. Just as the motor car made blacksmiths redundant, so the internet has changed the way we do business. It is unfortunate that this company has closed down, but blaming everyone else for their misfortune, doesn’t absolve the owners from their own failings and a changing world. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 1

1:18pm Fri 21 Feb 14

DuncanMacdonald says...

Don't call me Dave is quite right but it's only half the story. The council should not be actively pushing High St traders into administration with daft parking policies such as the removal of cash payment options. The High St needs to adapt. The council needs to be helping that process to happen not hindering it.
Don't call me Dave is quite right but it's only half the story. The council should not be actively pushing High St traders into administration with daft parking policies such as the removal of cash payment options. The High St needs to adapt. The council needs to be helping that process to happen not hindering it. DuncanMacdonald
  • Score: -1

2:23pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Clivicus says...

I find it absurd to pin the blame on others for this business failing. Parking restrictions do not make a business fail. Rental costs do not make a business fail. As 'Don't call me Dave' has already pointed out, landlords will look favourably on requests to adjust terms of the contract. All competent landlords will know that money coming in is better than none at all.

Anybody that still uses travel agents to book holidays will know where they are located and get there by any means. There is absolutely no way that anyone will decide to not use a travel agent purely because they have to pay £1.20 to park outside.

To say there were no alternatives but to close is ridiculous. They have 30 staff, they could quite easily downsize and used the saved wages to pay rent on their current premises, whilst then looking for new ones.

They are only blaming others to deflect the blame away from them.
I find it absurd to pin the blame on others for this business failing. Parking restrictions do not make a business fail. Rental costs do not make a business fail. As 'Don't call me Dave' has already pointed out, landlords will look favourably on requests to adjust terms of the contract. All competent landlords will know that money coming in is better than none at all. Anybody that still uses travel agents to book holidays will know where they are located and get there by any means. There is absolutely no way that anyone will decide to not use a travel agent purely because they have to pay £1.20 to park outside. To say there were no alternatives but to close is ridiculous. They have 30 staff, they could quite easily downsize and used the saved wages to pay rent on their current premises, whilst then looking for new ones. They are only blaming others to deflect the blame away from them. Clivicus
  • Score: 1

5:02pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Cadwallader says...

Parking restrictions do not make a business fail. However a near total drop-off of walk-in trade can't have helped.
Parking restrictions do not make a business fail. However a near total drop-off of walk-in trade can't have helped. Cadwallader
  • Score: 2

6:03pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Edgar de Jarnac says...

Heartbreaking? How so?
Heartbreaking? How so? Edgar de Jarnac
  • Score: 0

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