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Yorkshire Pantry to close shop and go online only
THE Yorkshire Pantry, an independent shop selling only Yorkshire produce, is to close.
The business, which was started in 2010 by Giles and Helen Bennett, is to go online only after the couple decided to close the shop at 18 High Petergate.
The business took over the last two and-a-half years of an existing ten-year lease held by York Coffee Emporium, which also decided to give up its high-street presence to go online.
The Yorkshire Pantry will close its shop on March 27 and move into new office premises from where it will expand its online business, expecting to double the list of producers from about 45 to 90 by Christmas.
Mr Bennett said in an email to customers: “While it is a shame we are having to leave High Petergate, what this move brings is the chance for us to expand considerably online.
“Constrained by space in our current location, we have been forever having to turn down producers because we didn’t have the shelf space to stock them all.”
He said they had been in discussions with landlords York Conservation Trust since December, trying to negotiate a new lease, but talks had failed.
He said: “Despite their stated aims to try and maintain York’s unique feel, and avoid the homogenisation of the high street by favouring smaller, independent businesses, the excessive and unreasonable requirements they were putting on the grant of a new lease, at a time when small, independent businesses like ours are under mounting pressure from all directions, sat in stark contrast to their rhetoric and negotiations have irretrievably, and regrettably, broken down.”
Philip Thake, chief executive of York Conservation Trust, a charity which buys and manages heritage buildings to keep them in use, said Yorkshire Pantry had demanded a rent-free period and refused to pay a three-month deposit. He said the previous lease was a sub-letting agreement with the previous tenant and the new lease would have been more favourable, changing the responsibility for repairs from the tenant to the landlord.
He said: “Everybody I speak to looks upon us as being a very good landlord. We are a charity and have to protect ourselves as much as any other landlord.
“We do give rent-free periods when somebody first moves in and has to put their own fixtures and fittings in because we understand they’re not earning any money in that time.
“We are very generous landlords, but we can’t buy these buildings then rent them out for free,” he said.