MP hails ‘repository of knowledge’ in Somerset
Bookbarn International has been praised as a ‘repository of knowledge in rural Somerset’ by visiting MP Jacob Rees Mogg.
The North East Somerset MP dropped in on the Hallatrow-based business just a week after the global internet book suppliers featured on BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den and Mogg hailed its importance to the local economy.
Mogg said the region had once been home to major employers including a network of coal mines, the Purnells printing business and Fry’s Chocolate Factory, but the local economy was now being driven by a host of small businesses.
He said Bookbarn International – which employs 32 people – was now a significant Somerset employer. Back in the 1970s people would have been convinced it would be disastrous to lose the major employers – but they have been replaced by a multitude of smaller businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups.
Mogg said: “This is a highly visible business because of its roadside position – it’s a business that people are glad is here – a repository of knowledge in rural Somerset. Bookbarn International employs local people which is great for the local economy. We want business to thrive in this area.”
During his visit Mogg was given a behind the scenes tour of the centre which included an extensive array of books on sale to the public, a popular café as well as the newly launched Darwin Room – a collection of rare and antiquarian books gleaned from the Bookbarn vaults.
Bookbarn International co-owner William Pryor said he believed Mogg’s visit underlined the businesses’ fast-growing public profile.
Pryor said: “As well as bringing Mr Rees Mogg up to speed on our secondhand sales and global export business we were able to enlist his support on a number of key issues including the local council’s refusal to allow us to have a Brown Sign on the main A37 to let passing motorists know we are here.
“Mr Rees Mogg will also look in to the pedestrian access – which is made difficult due to the lack of pavements along the roads to the neighbouring villages.”