THE owner of a long-standing club has admitted it is “nearly impossible” to make a success of a nightclub due to “rising prices and changes in drinking culture”.

Charley Horne, owner of the Pink Toothbrush in Rayleigh, said it was a huge shame to see a club like Basildon’s Unit 7 close, but it is no surprise as the industry suffers across the UK.

The Pink Toothbrush, in High Street, Rayleigh, has been one of the go to spots for clubbers in south Essex since 1984 and is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, but Mr Horne knows it has been far from easy.

Mr Horne admitted that drinking culture has changed in the UK a lot over the last decade, with young people drinking less or choosing to booze at home on shop-bought alcohol before heading on a night out.

Mr Horne said: “I used to own four or five clubs myself once, back in 2000 and was doing okay. The biggest hit came when pubs got all day opening.

“Then we had the smoking ban too.

“Since then, people have started going out much later than they used to. They have drinks at home first as it is cheaper, then come out after.

“We have also noticed young people aren’t drinking as much, I have noticed that within the industry but in my personal life too.

“Young people don’t drink like we used too, and they go out later.

“All that combined together took a hit on nightclub industry.”

Mr Horne highlighted how the rise in price has also had a huge impact with just electricity bills alone doubling.

He says businesses are being “outpriced”.

Despite this, the Pink Toothbrush is still a hit and Mr Horne said the key to that is making the customer the focus.

However, he admits that is easier as an independent club rather than a big chain.

He added: “I have aways been a great believer in the customer is key. You have to look after the customer.

“We look after them by not putting door charges up, but still having big events and special nights. We don’t rip the customer off. Over the years, young people have realised we are not a big cooperation ripping them off.

“I think that has worked for us.”