Published: 14:17, 07 August 2018
| Updated: 14:21, 07 August 2018
Homebase has defended evicting a popular car wash business located at the Wincheap Industrial Estate.
Loyal customers were left outraged over the treatment of Blerim Isufi, a franchisee of FS Hand Car Wash, who was shocked to discover the DIY giant had cut off his electricity and water supplies after fives years working on the site.
But the store says the decision to remove hand car washes from each of their 24 stores was made by previous owner, Bunnings which bought the business in 2016. At the time they cited the reasons to remove them was to free up parking space and ease congestion. The new owners Hilco Capital took over the beleaguered business in June of this year after failing to turn the firm around. They are in the process of re-branding the stores back to Homebase.
In a statement a spokesman for Homebase confirmed: "This (Wincheap) site was the last of the car washes to be removed from all of our stores and we were in regular contact with the owner, Rob Shala. It should not have been a surprise when the water was cut off."
Mr Isufi has received an overwhelming response to his plight with many customers praising the service which was shut down on August 1.
However the 36-year-old, known locally as Blair, says he plans to return to the city as soon as possible. Speaking from Albania he told the Gazette: "They (Homebase) did not renew the lease and just cut of the electricity but we are now going to move to Sturry where the PC World is. We haven't signed anything yet but hope to be there very soon."