What has been described as one of the most exceptional shops to open in Sandwich in years is closing because it has not been able to attract enough custom.
The directors of Roses Fine Foods, an artisan grocers in King Street, have announced they can not see a way forward because the business has “come to the end of its cash flow.”
And with debts that need paying, the firm - which is still solvent - is taking the advice of an insolvency practitioner.
Jim Marshall, one of the three directors, said: “I’m so proud of it. It was such fun to put together. I’m sorry it’s over but it was a great try.”
Roses opened in August 2012. Selling fine quality foods with old fashioned good service, it was a step back in time. The creative vision of the directors brought about the launch of novelties like pet hampers and, more recently, a delivery service that joined together with the independent shops in Sandwich to benefit the elderly or infirm.
But it was buying the delivery vehicle on hire purchase that tipped them over the edge, according to Mr Marshall.
“We got a lot of people sign up to it but nobody was using it. Plus we were on the other end of King Street, so we were probably a bit too far out of town.”
The directors, who include Chris Howard and Claire Woods, invested heavily into Roses - which was the name of the former grocers of the 1800s. They paid for the old clock to be fixed (pictured) to give it a traditional feel.
They restored the store to its former glory and sold artisan produce to match the theme.
“It was probably the most exceptional shop to open in Sandwich for some time,” he said.
But the threat of a Waitrose opening in Dover Road and a Sainsbury’s at Discovery Park would mean disaster, he said.
“We are hoping someone with vision and foresight will turn it around.”
He said traders throughout Sandwich experienced a thin couple of months during August and September
“We are still solvent and can still trade. We have not defaulted on any payments and we are making sure we can pay off our suppliers and any outstanding invoices.”
A special sale of goods was held last weekend until Wednesday. At the time the Mercury went to press, Mr Marshall was not sure if the doors would be closed for good by the time the Mercury hit the shops.