Published: 12:39, 03 February 2020
| Updated: 15:39, 03 February 2020
Stunned staff at a city camera shop were sent home jobless just hours after arriving for work.
The six employees at Jessops in Canterbury were handed redundancy letters before the store was immediately dismantled ahead of its unceremonious closure.
The sudden loss of the Marlowe Arcade unit means Kent no longer has a branch of the struggling photographic retailer.
Former manager Marcel Fernandes, who had worked at the firm for 18 years, says his store was making a profit but had to close due to the pricey rent.
"It is devastating," he said.
"I was telling my staff that I reckon we'd be all right as the store was profitable. We were doing well.
"But it was all down to rent. The company couldn't negotiate a new deal and that was it - we were gone.
"No matter how well we were doing, it was totally out of my staff's hands. We had no prior warnings and now we're all looking for new jobs.
"We were told at 9am that'd we going and the shop was shut.
"It started being dismantled straight away and the signs were all taken down."
Jessops, which previously had numerous stores dotted all over Kent, including in Mercery Lane and Sturry Road, was brought out of administration by Dragon's Den star Peter Jones in 2013.
All 187 stores had closed but Mr Jones relaunched the business and and a new Canterbury store was opened opposite HMV.
But in October last year, the firm once again called in the administrators - spelling the end for almost 20 branches in a matter of months.
And on Monday, January 27, the city's store closed its doors for the last time.
Mr Fernandes, 49, added: "Our shop was the most popular place to print digital images, from young to old people, as the staff assisted the customers on the printing machines.
"It had very knowledgeable staff who were all skilled photographers and liked advising the public on what cameras to buy.
"I'm upset that the company closed us down.
"We used to have meetings in March and October where store managers gave their feedback on how things we going. But they didn't listen to what we were saying.
"There's been a rapid decline and it's sad to see for our staff and customers.
"It's yet another sad loss for the high street and an empty shop in Canterbury.
"We weren't even in the high street but the rent was too much."
Jessops has been approached for comment.
More by this authorJoe Wright