11 Lancashire businesses closed for good as pandemic effect hits
Written by Skywave Radio News on July 22, 2020
It’s difficult to overstate the impact that coronavirus has had on businesses across the country.
Lancashire has not been able to avoid the pandemic and resulting lockdown’s devastating effect on its local economy.
All ‘non-essential’ stores were closed on March 23 when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would be entering lockdown.
That meant many businesses, big and small, have been forced to shut for good as they became unsustainable to run.
Here are just a few well-known ventures which have unfortunately not been able to make it out of the national lockdown.
Vinyl Groove Café, Lytham St Annes
Lytham’s unique Vinyl Groove Café did not reopen following the easing of lockdown restrictions, due to the trading impact caused by coronavirus.
The café, located on Queen Street, cited the financial loss during what would be the busy part of the year for them, alongside the ‘difficult environment’ with social distancing, as reasons for closing for good.
It had been open since 2015 and was designed to bring together music lovers in the community.
Ian Barnett, owner of Vinyl Groove Café, said in a statement: “COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the hospitality industry, not being able to fully trade during the busier half of the year and with ongoing restrictions, makes it unfortunately very difficult to continue trading.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our regular/loyal customers and of course the great team of people, who have worked alongside me since opening the café in April 2015,” he added.
Buzz Bingo, Chorley
The major bingo hall on Market Street in Chorley is one of 26 across the UK set to close next month, putting 573 jobs at risk.
Buzz closed its sites across the UK on March 21 due to the national lockdown, and furloughed the majority of its staff.
Now, the company has said it will “take time” for footfall to reach pre-virus levels due to social distancing measures and weaker customer confidence.
Chris Matthews, chief executive of Buzz Bingo, said: “The ongoing pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for the entire leisure and hospitality sector and an immediate and significant impact on our business.
“The restructure will, very sadly, impact a number of our colleagues and my priority is to support all those affected and keep them fully informed as we continue with this process.”
Scrooges Bar, Blackpool
The lockdown led to Scrooges Bar in Blackpool to close earlier than expected, after already announcing plans to shut down as the site became earmarked for redevelopment.
The pair spoke of the difficulty of “walking away from a hugely successful business”, but said the worst thing for them was not being able to have one last party due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Announcing the news on Facebook, they said: “It is with a VERY heavy heart that we have to announce, that the award winning Scrooges Bar will not open its friendly doors again.
“The worst thing for us is that due to Covid, we don’t get to have one last party. You don’t get to have one last mental sesh with all your mates. There will be no photographs on socials of an amazing sending off party… and that is always gonna be sad for us.”
Thousands of customers responded to the news with sadness on social media.
In more positive news for the company, the owners are now hoping to find another location to open a new bar – ‘Scrooges 2’.
The Prince William pub in Dalton, West Lancs
The Prince William was the village’s only pub, and had only recently been saved by a community campaign, but earlier this month announced that it will not reopen again.
The pub, in Dalton, West Lancashire, has been boarded up by the owners and will be sold by brewery Robinson’s.
Landlord Dave Galvin blamed the closure on the pandemic’s hammering of the hospitality industry, making the pub no longer viable to run.
Mr Galvin said: “We’re positive but disappointed that it’s closed. Positive in that Robinson’s listened to us and were excited and willing to give us a reprieve.
“We were overwhelmed by that and everything was going really well, we had lots of support in the community.
“But then like a shutter coming down, all pubs were closed.”
The Seafood Pub Company
The Assheton Arms in Clitheroe, and the Oyster and Otter in Blackburn, were forced to close for good in June after The Seafood Pub Company entered administration.
The news was announced in a letter sent to staff, which read: “It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing to tell you that we have not been able to secure the funding needed for the business to survive.
“Without funding and no income since the forced closure, we have no choice other than for the business to go into administration.”
The company was behind some of the most recognisable gastropubs in the county.
Joycelyn Neve, who founded the company, said she was ‘truly heartbroken’ to have lost her business and her team.
Greggs, Lytham St Annes
Larger chains have not been unscathed by the pandemic either.
Earlier this month we reported that Greggs has announced that its shop in Lytham St Annes is closing down permanently.
Reacting to the news Lytham residents say they are ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised’ with Greggs’ decision to permanently close the store.
A Greggs spokesperson confirmed the shop’s closure with a statement that said: “We can confirm that sadly our Lytham St Annes shop will not be reopening.”
The company has given no further information as to why the store has closed.
Brickmakers Arms, Burnley
The popular pub on Yorkshire Street, close to Turf Moor, will not be reopening as coronavirus-related restrictions mean it wouldn’t be feasible to reopen, according to owners.
The Brickmakers Arms was a popular spot for football fans to visit before and after Burnley matches.
“We are saddened to inform all of our lovely customers that we have made the difficult decision to close the Brickies down for good,” read a post on the pub’s Facebook page.
“It’s been a very hard few months for everyone and we feel that with the restrictions still in place it wouldn’t be feasible for us to reopen. We would like to say thank you to all of our customers and we wish you the best of health during these difficult times.”
Empire Bingo Club, Blackpool
The historic Empire Bingo Club has been earmarked for demolition, after Covid-19’s impact proved the final straw for the business.
Owners said it was the right time to close the bingo club’s doors for good, since the age of the building makes social distancing too difficult while keeping the business viable.
The building dates back to 1929 and was in the hands of the same family for 46 years.
Bingo caller Howard Batley, who worked at the Empire for 19 years in two stints, said: “It is very sad news but unfortunately times have changed.
“Our customers were like our family. We were on first name terms and went the extra mile for them. One lady had been coming here for over 40 years.
“But a small club like this just couldn’t survive with the social distancing measures which are needed now.”
Oasis and Warehouse
Another national chain, Oasis and Warehouse’s stores have all been closed, including those in Lancashire, after administrators failed to find a buyer for the business.
Over 1800 jobs across the country have been lost due to the company’s closure.
Speaking last month, administrator Rob Harding said: “Covid-19 has presented extraordinary challenges which have devastated the retail industry.”
“It is with great sadness that we have to announce a sale of the business has not been possible and that we are announcing so many redundancies today,” he added.
The Bay Horse pub, Baxenden
The landlord of The Bay Horse in Baxenden found out that it had been sold just a week before it was due to reopen, and it is now set to become a Co-op convenience store.
The historic pub has been on the site on Manchester Road for over 150 years according to Graham Hunter, who had run the pub since 2017.
He said: “We were mortified. It’s not that we don’t want to or have thrown our towel in – that decision has been taken out of our hands. We are sadly the last publicans that that pub is ever going to have.
“In Thwaites’ defence you look at how much money they are going to have lost [during lockdown], and you can sympathise with that.
“A lot of businesses have suffered and are not going to recover from this, and unfortunately the Bay Horse is one of them.”