A RENOWNED second-hand furniture warehouse in York that was due to close amid spiralling debts has been saved at the 11th hour.

The Press can reveal The Banana Warehouse, in Piccadilly, will continue to trade for at least the next five years after its owner, Dave Dee, signed a new deal with his landlord to reduce the rent.

Mr Dee, 59, whose determination and optimism have seen him become one of the best-known businessmen in York, said he was overjoyed that he would not have to lay off his nine staff.

He said that following a tough couple of years, trade was finally picking up again and he was confident his removal and second-hand goods business would now survive the recession.

“We have been reprieved by our landlord who has helped us out in our hour of need by reducing the rent for us and we are signing a new five-year contract in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“We have got into debt with our rent and the landlord has been absolutely superb by helping us out with a payment plan so we can pay it off.”

Mr Dee said he had been overwhelmed by the reaction of his customers after The Press reported in January last year that he was due to close.

He said: “We had a lady and her husband come in crying, literally crying, saying ‘we don’t want to lose you, Dave, you have been here for a long time’.

“I don’t know if I’m an institution or what, but 37 years I’ve been doing this business in York.”

Mr Dee said The Banana Warehouse was beginning to flourish again and he was recruiting a new driver.

“Business has definitely picked up,” he said. “We are probably taking 50 per cent more than what we were last year. It isn’t back as good as it was three or four years ago, but it is coming back.

“We are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel and in two years we will be back to where we were."

He said his two longest-serving members of staff – Steve Goodman and Alan Thompson – had been made partners in the business so they could take it over when he retires.