Which Suffolk businesses have closed because of the coronavirus pandemic?
- Credit: ARCHANT/TIM LEGGETT
At the end of March businesses across Suffolk and north Essex were shuttered.
Then from June most businesses were told that they could begin to reopen.
Some, such as nightclubs, still have not been able to reopen – but others have closed for good.
R3 Eastern, the East Anglian branch of the insolvency and restructuring trade body, said the number of corporate insolvencies is rising month-on-month showing how the pandemic is effecting businesses.
Government figures, published by the Insolvency Service on August 14, show that the number of companies entering insolvency increased by 29% between June and July this year, with a total of 955 company insolvencies registered in England and Wales in July.
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So, which businesses have closed in the region and why?
Cafes and Restaurants
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The popular Moroccan/Lebanese restaurant announced its permanent closure, saying it had been “battered and bruised” by the pandemic.
The Tacket Street restaurant – which was often ranked one of the best in the town – was owned by head chef Farhad Amin. He said the closure comes with a “heavy heart”.
Cafe Rouge in Bury St Edmunds, among 91 sites owned by the Casual Dining Group, has closed due to the company going into administration.
Nearly 2,000 jobs were lost because of the closures.
The board said that entering administration was in the best interests of stakeholders during the “extreme operating environment” it is having to trade through.
The chain’s restautrants in Lloyd Avenue, Ipswich, and Market Hill, Sudbury, are among 73 restaurants across the country that will shut as the chain continues to struggle.
Despite the majority of the company’s 454 stores being profitable before lockdown was imposed, Pizza Express has seen its earnings decline for the past three years.
The family-run cafe in the heart of Hadleigh has also announced its closure amid the lockdown after 13 years of service.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Crabtrees team, said: “It is with great sadness that we have to advise that Crabtrees Cafe Bar has closed for good.
“We would like to thank all our fabulous customers for all their support over the past 13 years.
“We wish you all great success and happiness for the future. We hope to see you soon. We love you all.”
The Rampant Horse in Needham Market was put up for sale following the devastating impact of coronavirus.
Owners Calvors Brewery had planned to reopen the pub but said they “hung on as long as they could” and were concerned about how they could make it viable.
They said it was a difficult decision to make as it included making seven redundancies.
Fashion retailer M & Co closed 47 stores as part of a major re-structuring plan – including its Newmarket branch.
The firm spared the rest of its East Anglian branches including Beccles, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Hadleigh, Sudbury, Stowmarket and Woodbridge.
The Kiko Milano makeup store in Ipswich’s Tavern Street also closed permanently, with all branding being suddenly removed from the shop front.
Ipswich Central said they had not heard anything official from Kiko’s head office regarding a permanent closure, however the makeup brand confirmed the store had shut on Twitter.
The Suffolk fashion brand, named by The Telegraph as one of the 50 best boutiques in Britain, has closed its shops in Aldeburgh due to the impact of Covid-19.
Vanessa Collen, founder and chief executive of Collen & Clare, said there could be a “massive bloodbath” in Aldeburgh’s high street as a result of the lockdown and admits the decision was “not taken lightly”.
The ‘coastal chic’ boutique has been serving the customers of Aldeburgh for the past six years.
The independent lingerie shop in Woodbridge confirmed it had closed its doors for the final time at the beginning of June.
Sweet Dreams was originally based in Wickham Market where it traded for 17 years.
The shop said it’s closure was down to difficulties in high street trading, including increased stock costs in the wake of recent events.
The craft store on Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, announced its closure on Facebook in late May.
Owner Glynis Sweeney wrote: “Sadly, due to the coronavirus lockdown and having to close for isolation, I have decided to cease trading The Thrifty Thistle.
“It is sad that the journey must end here as we had many more plans in the pipeline that were going to happen this year.”
Marlows Home and Garden Centre in Bury St Edmunds was forced to close because of “poor trading conditions” caused by Covid-19.
A post on the centre’s Facebook page said: “Due to poor trading conditions caused by coronavirus, Marlows Home and Garden will be closing down.”
The site on Hollow Road has now been put up for sale.
Family-run Winch & Blatch will close three of its four town centre stores in December, but its homeware outlet at 40 King Street has been taken on by Townrow Department Stores, which is retaining the six members of staff.
Winch & Blatch directors Judith and Richard Blatch said it had been a “very difficult decision” to close the remaining three stores, but it was due to “the substantial increases in the costs of running our stores, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, making it impossible for us to find a way forward to enable the business to trade successfully”.
SWM Motors in Brandon called in McTear Williams & Wood as liquidators on May 19, making eight people and two directors redundant.
Appointed liquidator Hayley Watson said: “The directors state that the entire reason for the closure of the business was the Covid-19 outbreak which resulted in a six month extension for MOT’s for vehicles with a resultant loss of 40% or revenue making the business untenable.”
Ipswich pet shop Barnard Brothers closed permanently on July 31 after more than 100 years in the town.
A sign in the window of the shop in Woodbridge Road informed customers of the news.
The original Barnard Brothers shop was opened in 1908 by Tom and Harry Barnard, just 23 and 19 at the time, at the corner of Grimwade Street and Fore Street, then called Church Street, and sold animal feeds.
The Gym Ipswich, in Civic Drive, closed its doors for good after owners Abbeycroft Leisure said it will not be renewing its lease on the building.
Warren Smyth, chief executive at Abbeycroft, said: “This extremely difficult decision had been reached just prior to the recent Coronavirus pandemic with a view to closing later in the year.
“However, the leisure industry is now facing unprecedented challenges and this will continue when the lockdown is lifted, which has further reinforced that we have made the right choice.”
Angus Travel, based at Station Yard in Needham Market, will close on August 31 as the owner said she “can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel” for the coaching industry.
Avril Read, director and majority owner of the business, said: “I’m closing the business at the end of August.
“It’s a wrench letting go. I am broken-hearted, but there are just no alternatives.”
Mrs Read said the company, which operates tour holidays and private hire, said Covid-19 meant she couldn’t keep running the business.
DW Sports, which runs the DW Fitness First in Ranelagh Road, appointed insolvency specialists after its income was wiped out by the protracted closure of stores and gyms during lockdown.
The firm, which was founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, operated 73 gyms and 75 retail sites across the UK.