The closure of a Knutsford garden centre due to ‘lack of sales’ has left 25 people out of work.
Family run business, ‘All-In-One’ in London Road, Allostock, closed its doors to the public on Sunday, July 31 after it became financially ‘unviable’ due to a drop in footfall.
Jason Stafford, chairman of All-In-One, which also has a store in Middleton told the Guardian that he is ‘desperately disappointed’ about the closure.
“It didn’t make any money,” he said. “A retail business in a rural location always struggles to get the footfall. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough regular visitors to make it viable.
“It was struggling for the last two or three years. The losses were unsustainable.”
The Staffords, who took over the business five years ago from Hills Garden Centre, plan to use the site to provide stock for the Middleton store, which has been unaffected- meaning that only one full-time and one part-time member of staff will remain in employment at the Knutsford branch.
“Unfortunately the rest of the staff have received redundancy,” Jason added. “It was all down to straightforward economics. There wasn’t enough money coming in to keep that many people in employment.
“It was an existing business when we purchased it and we spent about £150,000 to modernise it. Despite that, and improving the facilities, it just proved to be unviable.
“There were not enough people supporting local business and too many supporting Google and Ebay. Retailers cannot be show rooms for Amazon and others to sell online.”
Jason also said that the staff on site did ‘everything that they could’ with the available resources and that making almost all of the 25 members of staff redundant was a ‘very hard’ decision for the family to take.
Anne Stennings, general manager at the Knutsford branch, said: “There’s a restaurant manager, a nursery manager and many other really good members of staff looking for work now.
“It is quite distressing for all of us. There’s a lot of hard working people out of jobs. Some of the staff moved here from Fryers when this was taken over five years ago.
“This is the way it is. We have Fryers on our doorstep and competition from lots of small plant nurseries. In times like this when people have to hang on to their money. I think there was a lot of factors but it came down to there not being enough sales to warrant keeping the doors open.”
Jason told the Guardian that there are no plans to sell the popular ‘Allostock Junction’ attraction, a miniature railway which travels around the site, and that fans of the ride can expect that the railway will open on ‘special occasions’. The company will soon set up a Facebook page to keep people informed of any events taking place on the railway.