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Bliss Tea Rooms, Walderslade, to shut after seven years due to cost of living crisis


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A businesswoman is having to close her popular eatery down after seeing her bills rise almost £1,000 in just three months.

Bliss Tea Rooms' owner Shirley Bliss says the cost of living crisis has resulted in her no longer being able to afford rent and operating costs.

Shirley Bliss, 65, is having to close down her tea rooms as she can no longer afford the rising rent and bills
Shirley Bliss, 65, is having to close down her tea rooms as she can no longer afford the rising rent and bills

It's a bitter blow for the 65-year-old who started out from home catering for tea parties with her daughter.

She decided to branch out in 2015 and took over the Walderslade shop after a space became available.

She will now go back to her old business model from next week.

She told KentOnline how as recently as February, she used to spend around £1,730 on electricity, rent, bills, and food shopping.

In only a few months, she now struggles to pay £2,661 per month after electricity went from £80 to £211, and food shopping jumped to £1,600 a month from £800.

From left: Melanie Lake, owner Shirley Bliss, 65, and her daughter Cindie Shirley when they first got the keys to the shop in 2015. Picture: Shirley Bliss
From left: Melanie Lake, owner Shirley Bliss, 65, and her daughter Cindie Shirley when they first got the keys to the shop in 2015. Picture: Shirley Bliss

She said: "It was five-and-a-half years of pure joy and laughter and building my dream business.

"We have made so many friends and built a sense of community along the way.

"It is sad to close, but we've had so many of our customers coming in, wishing us all the best and thanking us for all we did."

Shirley's situation has become a new tough reality on many homeowners as well, such as a disabled mum from Medway who says she hasn't turned the heating on since before Christmas.

The tea room owner added she is happy her staff will not suffer from the closure, as they are all employed elsewhere, giving her one less thing to worry about.

Despite having a plan B well under way, Shirley said nothing will replace the face-to-face chats she had everyday with her staff and customers.

The Walderslade Road premises will close this Friday, May 20, but will sell its fixtures on Saturday and Sunday.

Customers will be able to purchase toasters, display units, shelves, coffee cups, and much more.

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