ANOTHER East Lancashire business has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic and will close later this year.

Colne shoe shop Olivia’s is due to shut after failing to bounce back to pre-pandemic footfall levels.

Ryan Haigh, who has been running the shop since 2006, said it will be “sad” to see the “beautiful little shop” close.

Lancashire Telegraph: Olivia's shoe shop in Colne. (Photo: Google Maps)Olivia's shoe shop in Colne. (Photo: Google Maps)

He said: “I’ve owned the shop for over 15 years and it was there five or six years prior to that.

“It’s sad to see a shop that’s been so prominent on the high street come to an end.

“We’ve received some lovely comments from customers on Facebook and the amount of people who have come in to see us once they realised it was closing down is immense.

“We’ve had some good memories here - it’s a very vibrant shop and you don’t stay open for so long without being successful and without it running well.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Ryan Haigh, owner of Olivia'sRyan Haigh, owner of Olivia's

Ryan, 46, said the business never fully recovered from the “devastating effects” of Covid – and the rising cost of living would only continue to eat away at the business’ profit margin.

 He added: “The last two years have been an absolute shambles. Prior to that, the shop has been quite successful. It once prospered and had plenty of loyal customers.

“But with the impact of Covid and the increasing lack of footfall on the high street, our business has been hit.”

Ryan said the pandemic hit them in a way he never forecast, with the increase of remote working taking an unexpected toll.

He continued: “People don’t realise the knock-on-effect that we are still feeling from the pandemic.

“A lot of our regular customers were office workers or NHS consultancy staff, which are now predominantly working from home.

“There’s less of a need for standard footwear and people’s buying habits have changed through Covid.

“It’s been fun while it lasted. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things that were never foreseen at the start of Covid.”

Ryan is now concentrating on his work at Colne Football Club where he is chairman.

He said: “The football club is also suffering from the effects of the pandemic but I have decided to concentrate on it, what with it being at the heart of the community.

“I didn’t see the footfall at the shop improving any time soon so thought it best to cut our losses.”

The Albert Road shop is currently hosting a closing down sale and will officially shut once all stock is sold. Ryan estimates that this will be near the end of June, if not sooner.

Since announcing its closure, dozens of customers have taken to social media to express their sadness and share their own memories of the shop.

One person said: “So sorry to hear this. I always popped in when I travelled to Colne from Newcastle.”

“I’ve had lots of shoes and sandals from you over the years,” said another.

A third person commented: “When I first came to England 11 years ago, I bought my first shoe from your shop. I liked it very much. I am very sad that your shop is closing.”

Maggie Barton said: “I’m so very sorry that it has come to this for your lovely shoe shop.

“You will be sadly missed and I for one would pay that bit extra for my shoes off you if I thought it would help keep you open.

“From one business to another, thank you for your kindness and hard work through the years.”

Another added: “I have been a customer with you for a while and was always so very well looked after. End of an era.”