Liverpool Voodou salon outlet under threat as service charge rockets 600%

Rob Webb opened his first salon in Anfield in 1976 and now Voodou operates three outlets with the city centre Button Street shop now facing a fight for its survival. Tony McDonough reports

Rob Webb, founder of the Voodou salon brand outside his Button Street shop. Picture by Tony McDonough


Voodou hair salon chain founder Rob Webb fears one of his Liverpool city centre outlets may have to close after its landlord pushed up its service charge by more than 600%.

Mr Webb opened his first salon in Anfield in 1976 and now Voodou operates a flagship outlet in Bold Street, another in Chicago Buildings in Button Street, one in Tuebrook and a separate training academy business in Stanley Street.

The business has achieved national recognition and has won a number of awards, winning particular praise for its social media presence.

Under pressure

It is the Button Street salon that is now under threat after the service charge was pushed up from £3,200 a year to £24,000, amid a number of structural improvements taking place on the external part of the building, which is close to the world famous Mathew Street.

The outlet was already under pressure following the closure of the BHS store two years ago. There was an entrance and a BHS cafe in Button Street that attracted a significant number of people.

Mr Webb told LBN: “We have seen a gradual fall in footfall since the opening of Liverpool One but that has dropped even further since BHS closed down. In the past Button Street was much busier than it is now and I would say business has dropped by a third.”

Earlier this year the owner of the building erected scaffolding to carry out a number of repairs and improvements to areas such as the brickwork and guttering. The scaffolding was meant to be up for just a few weeks, Mr Webb claims.

But it has now been in place for much of the year and he adds this is making the shop less visible and affecting passing trade.

Visible marketing

Mr Webb said: “We have tried to work with the council to allow us to do some visible marketing outside but they aren’t allowing us to do that. We spoke to the BID about extra lighting outside but that is on hold while the scaffolding remains.

“I think if this was a standalone salon it might have gone bust by now.”

The registered owner of Chicago Buildings is Sara & Hossein Asset Holdings which is based in the British Virgin Islands. It is managed by commercial agents Cushman & Wakefield.

A spokesperson for the landlord and asset managers told LBN: “The building has been allowed to fall into disrepair by others and we are simply putting in it back into repair as required by the leases.”

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