A shopkeeper once dubbed the "Basil Fawlty of booksellers" is selling his business in North Yorkshire.
Steve Bloom, 63, of secondhand bookshop Bloomindales in Hawes, was earlier this year accused of bringing the town into disrepute by the chairman of Hawes parish council John Blackie following a stream of complaints. Bloom allegedly called one customer a "pain in the arse" and controversially charged customers a preliminary 50p fee for browsing the shop.
Bloom told Richmondshire Today he had decided to sell up of his own free will and had "no regrets" about his behaviour, but added he would "not miss the moaning" from customers who disliked the 50p policy.
"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," he said.
"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."
He added: "The council were desperate to get rid of me but they didn’t manage. I won that battle ... 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."
Commenting on Bloom's decision to leave, Blackie said in an email it was "not a moment too soon", adding "we cannot wait to wave goodbye forever to a trader that in his appalling and utterly unacceptable attitude towards his customers".
He had previously described Bloom as “rude and offensive” and said the bookseller was a discredit to the town, adding: “He is doing a disservice to the other traders, to the reputation of the town, which is very much a friendly town. We welcome people to come and visit us.”
However, not all customers felt the same. The latest review left on Yell this morning (18th July), read: "You had a precious resource; a bookseller who was an actual human being. Did you value him? No, you did not, and now he's gone. Replaced by yet another smirking, toadying, robot retailer. Good luck to the lot of you, because you're going to need it."
It is understood that the business, located in the town market hall, has been sold to a local couple. Bloom has been contacted for comment.