‘We have lost the fight’: Much-loved Chesterfield business ceases trading after lockdowns and ‘non-negotiable rent rise’
A treasured business in the heart of Chesterfield has today revealed it is closing for good – after enduring three lockdowns and now a ‘non-negotiable 50 per cent rent increase’.
Award-winning Stephensons Tea and Coffee House, which is located on Stephenson Place, will sadly not reopen its doors when coronavirus restrictions are eased later this spring.
But the landlord says 'it is misleading to be accused of imposing a 50 per cent non-negotiable rent increase'.
Owner Claire Wood has run the highly successful business with her son Sam for six years.
Claire told the Derbyshire Times: “Following three lockdowns and then a non-negotiable 50 per cent rent increase from April 1, Stephensons Tea and Coffee House has had to make the very difficult decision to cease trading.
“Over the last six years, the business has expanded into a very popular luxury bed and breakfast, achieved number one position on Tripadvisor for several years, and won many awards, both locally and regional.
“However, the large rent increase means that it is no longer economically viable to continue in these unpredictable times.”
Claire said she was ‘devastated’ and added that the ‘difficult decision’ had to be made to ‘prevent debt’.
“We were initially very positive that the business would survive the pandemic – however, the rent increase is just not achievable in these difficult times,” she said.
“I want to encourage people to continue to support the many brilliant independent eateries in Chesterfield.
“We will sadly miss our customers – many of them have now become friends.”
‘We are totally devastated’
In a Facebook post, Stephensons said: “It is with great sadness and regret that we have lost the fight.
“Three lockdowns and then a 50 per cent non-negotiable rent increase from April 1 means we just simply cannot supervise and continue.
“The last six years have been truly amazing.
“We have made so many new friends, we expanded into bed and breakfast, and we had so many other plans for the future too, but sadly, some very hard decisions have had to be made.
“We thank everyone for the support you have given us, your friendship, and your loyalty.
“Please continue to support the other independents in Chesterfield.
“We are totally devastated to close the door on our beautiful establishment.”
Many people have replied to the post to express their sadness at the news.
One said: “You have worked so hard in your business and it is devastating to know that all your hard work cannot help your lovely café continue.
“Chesterfield town centre will be poorer for the loss of such a lovely independent establishment.”
Another added: “This is extremely sad news for us who loved to come and enjoy the wonderful food you prepared.
“This must have been an incredibly difficult decision to make.
“Take care and hopefully in the future we will hear again of a new venture.”
Another commented: “This pandemic has caused so much loss and sadness.
“Sending best wishes for whatever the future holds for you.”
A fellow business owner said: “I wish you all the best for the future and hopefully you can find something else you love doing.”
Others described the closure as a ‘travesty’.