HOLDENS Cafe in Burnley Market Hall will be shutting its doors in November after trading in the town for 67 years.
Owner Michael Austin, 55, has been running the popular eatery for the past 21 years, but he said he has been forced to give the required six months’ notice on the unit as the business was no longer sustainable.
His four members of staff will also have to be made redundant.
He said: “Since last Christmas I haven’t been making any money – I’ve been paying my rent and staff and suppliers and I haven’t made a wage.
“I might as well sit at home and earn nothing, than work 50 or 60 hours a week and earn nothing.
“It’s disappointing, but that’s just how it goes. There are a lot of people who are worse off.”
Mr. Austin said that a number of factors have led to the decline of his business – and others on Burnley market who face a similar predicament.
He said: “It’s the same as everybody else really – increased competition, increased rents, and people are online shopping now so there’s not as much footfall. Electricity and gas and business rates have gone up, and my turnover has gone down.
“There’s a lot of competition now too from Costa Coffee, Rhode Island, and Marks & Spencers cafe. Even if everyone just takes a small percentage of our trade, it has an effect. Everybody will be disappointed, we have regulars who come in, but there’s nothing we can do really.”
Colin Hill, head of facilities management at Burnley Council, said: “It’s regrettable when any tenant decides to leave and particularly so in this case where within the last 18 months the council has given substantial support to enable the tenant to downsize and remodel his unit.
“The council has not increased rent levels for number of years and has met the impact of inflationary pressures, especially rising energy and waste costs, from its own bottom line .
“As far as footfall is concerned, given the current financial climate and level of town centre competition in the discount sector, targeting that same market customer, Burnley Market does faces the same challenges as many other markets and towns in trying to maintain customer numbers.”
HOW GEORGE CREATED AN INSTITUTION
Holdens Cafe was opened in 1946 by Padiham man George Holden, who ran the restaurant for almost 30 years.
The cafe has only had three owners in its 67-year history.
In 1972 George Holden sold the business to employee Terry Burrell who had worked for him for 20 years.
It was only when Terry was taken ill that he decided to sell the business and passed it on to its present owner Michael Austin.
Founder George Holden almost outlived his namesake cafe – he passed away only a few months ago at a nursing home in Padiham at the age of 101.
The Burnley cafe is an institution for many, and Burnley families have eaten there for generations.
Mr Austin said: “You get children coming in with their dads and their grandads. They remember coming here for their dinners when they were little.”
The eatery has also seen its share of famous faces – Shameless star Alice Barry worked at the cafe for 25 years.
Mr Austin said: “When I took over she was still here and doing bits of TV work at the same time.”