Controversial York shop to close as owner declares retail ‘dead as a dodo’

Donald Trump is a familiar figure outside Blue Moon on Goodramgate, York. Photographs: YorkMix
18 Jul 2018 @ 5.30 pm
| Business, Shopping

Soon Donald Trump will be gone from Goodramgate. The US president guards the entrance to Blue Moon Trading – but the York shop is closing down.

The store which sells knives, airguns, ammunition and associated items, has been trading for 11 years.

But owner Stuart Sykes is holding an ‘Everything Must Go’ sale before closing for the last time.


When asked by YorkMix why, Stuart told us:

Because we’re making no money. It’s as dead as the proverbial dodo. The same as most small retailers in the UK.

Progressively over the last two or three years, small retail, family retail has gone downhill so fast.

York can’t do anything

Blue Moon owner Stuart Sykes
Stuart doesn’t believe there is much that can be done to help locally.

“I don’t think York can do a single thing. It’s a nationwide situation – it’s not unique to York by any means,” he said.

“Circumstances, the economy, shortage of money, massive business rates all come into the equation, and it has killed a lot of things.”


The shop has hit the headlines over the years, with previous York council leader James Alexander criticising Blue Moon for selling rock band-style T-shirts with the slogan Adolf Hitler’s Tour of Europe.

More recently Goodramgate was evacuated when a man sold a ‘bomb’ to the shop – Stuart paying £5 for it to take it off the streets.

What did he think of the controversies? “It goes with the territory. Blades, knives, guns will never be the flavour of the week,” he said.

The shop’s best sellers were “bog standard air rifles, air pistols, gas guns, CO2 guns… they all want to be a cowboy you know”.

Some customers ‘utter fools’

The shop on Goodramgate

Stuart said he had enjoyed running the shop.

It’s beaten working for a living! This is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

After having people fighting in roller skating rinks, shivering in the frozen food business, driving round in ice cream vans, this is simplicity personified. It is easy peasy.

What were his customers like? “Ninety-five per cent, completely ordinary, five per cent total, utter fools.

Air rifles inside the shop

“We don’t have a lie detector supplied by the government, or a crystal ball, so we just guess.”

What are his plans for retirement? “Sheer laziness.

“I’m nearly 73, I don’t want to be found dead in here. I’ve had a heart attack not long ago. One’s enough.”

He said he expected the shop to be open through summer till all his stock had been sold. It would definitely be closed by Christmas.

Gallery – Inside Blue Moon